The large side door on my minivan
is white steel. Itís made to remove fingers
but not with the precision of a scalpel.
Its blunt edge is made to crush. The
not enough tissue recovered. At the knuckle, blood vessels
too narrow to reattach. Bone splintered at the base.
Itís too heavy to close from inside.
only David is strong enough, opening wider
then leaning his 10-year-old weight as he pulls.
I usually close it for them, standing like
doorman while they climb in dragging
backpacks, piano music, ballet bags. Fighting
over who sits next to the door. I look
at their fingers
clutching homework, and I see them bleeding
on the van floor. Davidís long musician fingers.
Allieís and Samanthaís curved gracefully as
if in dance.
Jamesís still holding a football
or paintbrush. Lukeís baby fingers gone.
I see them learning to play piano with a prosthesis.
Slipping an engagement ring over a nailless stump.
Shaking hands at a job interview left-handed.
I hear them screaming. The screams of
exit from the tight safety of the womb into cruel
light. Where mother is just another careless stranger.
So I take the heavy door, warning
everyone back. Hold the cold handle tightly.
Swing it shut.
Copyright 1999, Carol A. Losi
Carol Losi is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University
of Houston. She has published one book for children, The 512 Ants on
Sullivan Street. The mother of five children, 10 years and under
she studies in the UW Extension Advanced Poetry Workshop.