by Andrea Scarpino
The research shows that the self can be detached from the body and can live a phantom existence on its own, as in an out-of-body experience, or it can be felt outside of personal space, as in a sense of a presence.
~ Dr. Peter Brugger, quoted in The New York Times
Weeks before you died, you told me you’d been
in the hospital bed when you felt your body rise,
hover near the ceiling lights, heard your name called
again and again. Probably the doctors, I said,
arranged your flowers, get well cards. You shook
your head. You were a scientist, taught me to believe
what could be seen through a microscope lens,
truth in beveled glass. Next day, you seized again.
They’re saying Pasquale, you said as the paramedics
arrived, carried you back to the hospital.
You never spoke your full name, called yourself Pat
instead. I played the scientist, blamed your medication,
seizures, hearing aids. What else could I believe?
Truth like beveled glass: for weeks before you died,
your name was called, your body pulled away.
Andrea Scarpino is the author of the chapbook The Grove Behind (Finishing Line Press). She received an MFA in Creative Writing from The Ohio State University, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is a longtime activist. Her current interests include sijo (an ancient Korean poetic form), elegy, the intersections of art and politics, and the politics of clean water. She currently teaches with the Union Institute and University’s Cohort Ph.D. program in Interdisciplinary Studies and is the West Coast Correspondent for the blog Planet of the Blind. The above poem originally appeared in Prairie Schooner and is included Scarpino’s chapbook, The Grove Behind. It is reprinted here by permission of the author.