Gayle Brandeis



"I want to tell you a secret,”
my four year old says.
I’m just home from two weeks
in the hospital, from having a stretch
of gut removed. I can’t pick him up,
can’t let him sit on my lap,
can’t do much of anything.

He leans closer, whispers
“Sometimes I don’t remember
your name.”

The car ride home
felt like whizzing
into hyperspace
after having gone
no faster than a wheelchair,
a gurney, for two weeks,
after having seen nothing
beyond hospital walls.
I had forgotten how fast
it was possible to go, how much
the world could blur. 

”Sometimes I don't remember
what you look like,” he whispers.

I’m right in front of him,
we video-chatted every day
I was gone, but this illness, this illness
that’s flared off and on since I was
13 has changed me over the last couple
of weeks, over the last few months
of pain. I don’t recognize myself, 
either, still hospital feral, hair wild,
face drawn, pale, dark
around the eyes, body
spun down to bone.

He gives me a new name:
Super Statue. He is A-Flash.
He is going to fix everything.
He is super hero blur
as he runs around and around
the couch, as I sit in its corner,
still as stone. “Good job,
Super Statue,” he tells me
as he flies past. “Good job.”

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