Thirdhand

I return to the hospital 18 months later,
remember the smell of the trauma ward,

remember the bathroom where I sat on
a plastic chair to take showers. I do not

remember the Neuro ICU, where I was
put in a coma to regulate brain swelling

or something. I remember the tea cart
pushed around each afternoon at 4:00

and the first time I went outdoors, April
or late March, how I moved-was-moved

from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair
to elevator, elevator to cement steps

facing a parking lot. I had never felt so
freed, breathing with uncollapsed lungs

spotless spring. I do not remember the fall,
though I have heard I was conscious when

the paramedics got there. I have asked
a hundred times, but the verdict stands:

until the coma was reversed, no one knew
about brain function. This is the one thing

I cannot make medical sense of,
this unknowing undeserved, too

cruel. Mudstrewn April thick with
back brace fittings, the same plans.

 

 

Annie Diamond is a Connecticut native, currently living in Chicago. She earned her BA in English and creative writing from Barnard College. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Laurel Review, Cargoes, Misadventures, and other publications. She has been awarded fellowships by The MacDowell Colony, The Lighthouse Works, and Boston University, where she completed her MFA in 2017.