In Praise of Anesthesia

An epidural is manna to the chord. Nine months and a lifetime of worry drain through my toes. I will my alien legs onto the gurney. “You feel something?” asks a nurse, tapping the thin helmet of my belly. The anesthesiologist snorts, “Numb as a scallop.” And I envy the scallop in her bony cage, the encapsulated armadillo, the armored grasshopper who gets a singular charge when you pluck off her legs, then lies a dull torpedo with no memory of legs.

Minutes later my middle is a cold field where hands burrow and rummage in the soil to yank bulbs. One tingles and wails, already more alive than I am.


In the new little face, she searches for her husband’s nose, the prominence of his chin.