A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Rachel Dacus

is the author of three poetry collections and a poetry CD.

She lives in Northern California and serves across the cyberdistances as an Umbrella contributing editor.

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Internal Jewelry

Strip in a loud, bright room, surrendering
clothes, watch, rings, necklace,
back brace, glasses, shoes. Lie back
on a metal gurney. Let yourself be wheeled
down a corridor past paintings of Bilbao
while beads of medication trickle like gems
through the IV line attached to your wrist.
Slowly fall into bottomless sedation
as through a tectonic fault.
Titanium will be implanted in your spine
screws and rods to keep you from flexing in the old ways.
A nurse will lay them out on a tray
as a jeweler arrays diamonds on velvet.
Their sheen will catch the operating room lights.
After, awaken like a hammered marimba,
vibrating with pain. You will pulse
to its rhythms for twelve months, then stand
adamantly upright, a half-inch nearer the sky,
an extravagance of metal at your roots.