Next week, I will temporarily lose the use of my left arm, for how long I do not know. And I will get the most rest—hopefully, the least guilt-ridden rest—that I or self-medication have allowed myself in a long time.
All it’ll take is a masked man cutting holes into my shoulder and shoving a periscope and teeny tools in there with which to reconnoiter and clean up any mess fifty years of silly behaviors may have set in motion, broken, or spilled. Oh, and if he finds the torn supraspinatus tendon in there he believes he might, he’ll trim up and sew its ragged edges together, too.
I enter this new situation with not much trepidation. My left shoulder has hurt and hindered my quality of life for so long, the hurt and hindrance have become almost my normal. In fact, they have been so much my normal for the past few years that some days when the shoulder doesn’t hurt much I feel like a fraud for scheduling any surgery. That’s me, Increase Mather Puritan ethic festooned with Sister Mary Irma Irish Catholic guilt and a dash of cowboy “It’s-just-a-scratch-ma’am.” Makes for a wholly American poet and author, don’t you think?
There are a handful of upsides to my mending. First, as I’ve said is the forced rest. Second, is the opportunity to finish my first collection of poems, Penumbra: The Space Between. Third, the historical fiction writer in me will now have an inkling of what it feels like to suffer one of those iconic shoulder wounds any of my future protagonists might have written for him, as well as any morphine/alcohol-induced fog of mind and body we might encounter. (You’re welcome, imaginary frontiersman/soldier/smartass dude.)
I write this to let you lovely readers and friends know where I am if any of you notice my heartfelt imaginings and glib insincerity missing from the Webs and ‘Nets you might set to capture such poetry and stories. I hope it won’t be too long. After all, “It’s just a scratch, ma’am.”