facies: a facial expression characteristic of a specific medical condition; portion of a rock or rock formation with a distinct appearance.
Comes a moment I know and they
don’t. Before I pronounce words
that will transform their facies.
A wife sits frozen for seven hours,
doesn’t leave, pee, read, speak, watch TV,
barely disperses sweaty fingerprints
on flipped pages of Homes and Gardens.
A son paces, a granddaughter besieges
the volunteer, demands to know what is going on.
I’ve been trained sleepless to open
abdomens and stitch pudendas,
to seize and study pus, blood, urine,
bile. I have punched sternums
with firm bone-breaking thumps.
I know failure heaped upon failure
—heart, lungs, kidneys—
does not add up to survival.
I suffer coded fury—you force me to break these bones—
even as I pray for the grace to feel something for their loss.