Her shirt and shoes lead me to the towel
spread underneath her. She’s
on the bathroom floor in her bra, still
in a not-slumber moment, passable
after a quick burst of pain and nausea.
I carry the embers of my family mixed
with the sliver of an unknown someone
who we’ll never thank for all the apneic
close calls and the phosphorescent glow
of its head flowering through folds.
I hold my wife in my shrinking lap, stroke
her curls and murmur consolations. What
do I know about right lower quadrant pain?
The graphic of an inflamed appendix appears
as she palpates her own abdomen and assures
us both that it is not that. Still the fat finger
of the appendix hovers over her until she lifts
herself from the bathroom floor. I was waiting
for you to come downstairs, she says.
I needed you to tell me that I was okay.
I’m glad I didn’t go upstairs to write,
glad for the postage stamp I needed,
the urge for oatmeal squares, the slurry
of untrimmed coupons across the table,
the slumping aloe, the internal kicks
that woke me, my wife’s warm body
rising from the bathroom floor,
as if from a slumber, rosed
and refreshed. Glad, too, the appendix
rises and dissolves into silver wisps.