It’s the cloudless, sky blue walls that I dwell on most
when I recall my journey through a hospital gurney-
sky blue walls and a clock straight ahead,
the minute hand mixing the anaesthesia.
Nobody else in the room, circumstance leading me
into my first surgery experience completely alone.
Never once a broken bone or stitch sewn, never once
an IV drip, I had imagined myself…terrified.

But in the moment of, there was just sky blue walls;
a second hand ticking another 360 degrees.
Drugs were definitely at work; they told me
this and that will help keep the anxiety down,
though there may always be some part of me that thinks
it was really the serenity of doing what must be done
singing lullabies like a mother putting children to sleep.
If I close my eyes, the fireflies can come out.

A nurse or doctor visits every few minutes with questions,
the same list of questions dotting i’s and crossing t’s.
I give the same list of answers and wonder
if all this is done just to pass a little more time.
Then it’s a group of personnel and the gurney is moving.
Grey ceiling tiles replace sky blue walls, the clouds
rolling in, yet fear of the storm cannot will not touch me.
The operating light shines like the invincible sun.

My father is there when the fog of anaesthesia lifts.
My brother is bringing the car around. The plan
is to do recovery in Owensboro, surrounded by family,
in good hands now that the worst is over.
I rest well in the car, sleeping much of three hour trip,
talking when awake about how smooth it all was.
When quiet, I watch the trees and hills slide by
with nothing but blue skies above the whole way home.