A Rock in the Belly

I want to be metal, but I bellow
my 90s flannelled sleeves
rolled to the elbow down the fluorescent
hallway from the waiting room. 
A kidney stone, the doctor says,
“not too small, that one,”
and I’m lying there like a prince
of dirt in pain with a pea
under my pillow belly, shifting,
a wiggle worm trying not to weep
when the doctor pushes on my lower
back side and says, “Yep, it’s in there,
all right.” At home, I’m medicated
at the toilet with strainer
and cup. I’m looking for the small
nugget of fortune from the rivers
I’m making, some sign
the stabbing will end and the thriller’s
masked machete-in-hand monster
will dive into the sewer in a violent
twist of flushed water. “You have
a rock in your belly, Dad,”
my toddler says, and I do. I’m hoping
it’s a one hit wonder, this 
wilderness wraith, all its spike and roar,
snail-shimmying through me
like it owns the place. I wish
the worst gone with each glass of endless
water and Toradol, the mindless
movements to bed, chair, couch, floor,
where I can’t sleep for the dreams
of mountains, snow-tipped and numbed,
melting and horribly exposed.
The red heat that must be meteorites’
glow, then the smash against
me, deeper than I thought I could hold.
My toddler, who is two years old,
looks at me, says, “Daddy, the rock
won’t be there tomorrow.
You’ll get it out.” And I think, yes,
of course I will. All pain has an ending. Still,
the mad-haired punk, my foot-
tapping grunge-fed me has to admit,
a little pain goes a long way
when the world seems at such odds
with kindness. Perspective,
I think. There’s so much worse
out there. The size 2T oracle,
clad in her infinite wisdom,
scolds, “I’m the baby, not you.”

Brian D. Morrison completed his MFA at the University of Alabama, where he was an assistant editor at Black Warrior Review. His poetry has appeared at West Branch, The Bitter Oleander, Verse Daily, Copper Nickel, Cave Wall, and other journals. Currently, he works as an Assistant Teaching Professor of English at Ball State University.

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