Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Prize

by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick

I had to explain to the surgeon
that I wanted to keep the metal
after it had been removed

It’s not that I wanted it
just knew that somehow
I had earned it, and couldn’t bare
to have it buried as biohazard waste
or in the ground before
and without me

This metal
bolts and washers
two thin rods
odd machined sculpture
bent to the curves
in the lean and slouch
of my posture
scaffolding to keep me
up-right, assembled
into and now out of
my muscled ribs

This collection of titanium bling
I will keep it with the other set
the stainless steel from the first surgery
that metal that I am allergic to, that
boiled and blistered
I have saved these             things
keep them in                      odd drawer

There are other relics
the neck braces, the x-rays
the wrist bands, cotton balls

It is the metal though that I must
clean methodically, soak in bleach
scrub with old toothbrush and rag
in my latex gloves, hold each piece
to the sun, see how it shines
in the light

I examine them
read the little
letters and numbers
imprinted in each
I will keep them
and maybe one day
melt them down

into a chalice                       for ceremony
into a vase                               for flowers
into an urn                                  for ashes
into a teapot                         for company

a paper weight                                charm
a music box                                   lullaby
a pair of scissors                               craft
a trophy                                            wins
counterfeit coins                             trade
a crown                                      glorifies

If like metals spill the same amount of water
from a filled container, the body must transcend
its own internal displacement in order to maintain
a sense of wholeness, the hard immovable part
of the self that will in all ways needs every spare caress

The metal that appears the contents
of junk-drawer, through process of osmosis
has absorbed an intrinsic quality, has become
something precious, to me the metal, now
externalized, clutched to my chest, creates
a kind of pressure, reversing its alchemy
until I am only grasping straw

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