First comes the weight,
then the ringing,
then the scatterplot of electric light
strung out along the riverbank through the window.
Your hand stays immobile on the bed
because, who knows? It could have been
some bandage pressed tight against the skull
by a mindful nurse doing her job, as in
stanch post-surgical bleeding
with a secure compress for twenty-four hours
until patient is upright and fully conscious.
Not quite ready to give up
on magical thinking, that’s what you thought,
(or made yourself think)
because, you know, “Stay positive.”
But, because you’re human
and it can’t forever stay four AM in the ICU
on the morning after, you raise your hand
that any distinction between weight and ringing
is irrelevant, since
tinnitus is the brain’s response
to loss of auditory stimulation
resulting from the trauma of schwannoma resection,
“We’re hopeful, but nothing’s positive.”
(You never pondered before
how the rubbing of palm against ear
is supposed to be audible).
For a moment, the summer disaster flick
is your sole wish, since it would only be fitting
for a tidal wave to come surging up from the Atlantic,
smashing your body
into oblivion. But it’s morning,
and the scatterplot is fading as the city reassembles
out of the grey while a barge drifts downriver to the harbor.
So you settle beneath the weighted, ringing silence
and wait for an orderly to bring breakfast.
Because, really, what other choice do you have?