Prayer shawls, paper flowers,
a purple rosary. We built an altar
on the hospital room table.
Butterflied like a fish,
she died and did not die,
rose again each time metal
unfolded her flesh.
I slept in fits as she became a deity.
As doctors transformed her.
In a dream, I saw her vivisected and hovering
above the plastic-railed bed. Her heart
a pulsing stone of gold. Her body wreathed
in living muscles cut free, red water serpents
writhing around her alabaster bones.
I cannot remember what I asked
when I prayed to her. It must have been
for a heart.
When I woke, it was time
to drain fluid from her left lung.
Doctors entered silent as priests,
metal instruments gleaming.
The catheter, like a lance,
slid with precision under her rib.