Cuada Equina. Ruptured disk.
In some traditions, the spine is living symbol of support. What does rupture tell you?
This jelly of the spine, encased in cartilage. Areas where there’s not enough blood flow to stay juicy as a muscle. This brittle shock absorber. This too dry bone.
Top of the stairwell holding blanket torn to bits. Baby girl, transitional object. This the only place that feels safe & there is so little here. A million years erased, a million years becoming. Carbon, dust. Soft fabric against skin. A hundred hands, a thousand pieces. Not enough fingers to mend. Grandma cannot stand the way I love things too much, even her.
I’m told the hands form from the heart. Pulse of love, she sewed blanket back together every time. Tight even stitches. Promises it will never be shredded beyond repair. “Just like this family.”
Transient too young. Transitional, transfer. The act itself or an instance. To move or pass from one thing to another. Safe hands to dangerous hands & passing hand to hand. Petals in palm petals on lips, lips on thighs kiss hands. Girl stands at top of stairs with racing heart. Looks down at everything she got away from. Fourteen now and it is past midnight. Took stairs two at a time, sounds like thunder. The only way her body believes she’ll get away from them. Obsessive compulsive or psychotic disruption. I think she was just scared. Small white animals with scaly tails go for her heels. Target the weakest spots. They whisper sweet things to lure her upward. These sad little things promise they need her for strength, & she was told monsters just need a little love. Looking down on sea of white she is overwhelmed. She had her first kiss today. Behind the courthouse. First kiss wanted. Punched him in the jaw when he got close & became paralyzed on the ground. He thinks she is playing. Kisses her again. Much as she wants it, she can’t kiss back. At the top of the stairs she makes soft fist and kisses her hands to try & remember what it felt like. Here is where the hurt starts. Sitting on stairs looking at everything trying to drown her. Looking at her no way out, kissing heart.
Wanders from town to town. Stays nowhere long. Laughs at the idea of a return address. Passes through her own hands now, sifting for anything golden. Anything she might make a meal from. The vagus nerve and sciatic nerve running parallel. Racing close to the speed of light, end in different places. Never meet. This distance a lifetime, the space between parallel lines is forever. Infinities existing within boundaries. Vagus wanders & gets lost along the way. Ends in gut, sciatic in toes; hungry to touch earth the way lightning does. Rupture appears where the wanderer stopped chasing. End of thoracic spine, eleven, twelve useless ribs. All the cartilage swollen. Inflammation the first protective response. We full of flame.
Raw nerve exposed through confines. Reaches across this small infinity, leaves burnt black trails. To be free means to have nothing. She finds nothing to feast on but her own blood. This old routine, tearing what is safety so there are more pieces to go around. She is only hungry for herself.
Vessel can no longer carry. An instance of break or burst. Sudden & complete. Breaching surface of white white water. To make end of harmonious relationship. There was no harmony here. Hand over mouth to cover a scream is not the same as humming. Break the surface. Only out of water, no ears can hear this sound. Pain the only one who understand. Sea welcoming back under.
Blanket lies in box in my mother’s attic. She doesn’t know I won’t be home for the holidays this year. Blanket has no skin left, only the wiry white substance in the middle. Faded squares of blue around the edge. Stripped and broken. Fibers teased apart.
They are doing what they can to prevent the surgery. Girl is channeled into hollow structure of machine. Loud crash and bang here. Told the lightning through her limbs can only be proved this way. Voice is not enough. Each picture gunshot thunder crashing wave. Alone in sterile room. Instructions not to move despite what happens around her & she won’t. This is something she has become very good at.
Later this evening a brace will be made, to leave me suspended always. If the herniation appears down the center, this will be of no use anyway. Cuada equina, the tail of a horse. Equal on both sides. Nerve runs down sacrum. Pain an infinite hollow. The shade of black the eye can’t see an end to. There is room for me here. The tail bone the sacred bone, the root. What offered up as sacrifice is broken. I let it consume me.
In last ditch effort away from blade she is bound to machine. Harnessed to it. Tied down with straps and chord. The force used to move a body that is still. Dry vessel dry body dry friction, lifting pelvis upwards with shear force. Traction of muscle fibers to pull this protective inflammation apart. Trying to draw me out. I am told it is essential that I relax. Door opens, small square of light appears. The boy she loves appears through the door. He has been asked not to touch her. He closes door behind him. Touches her anyway. She is strapped to table and cannot move. There is nothing sexy about this. Dark ceiling a reflection of fear. Muscles tense up as he touches places she’s asked him not to. Strong muscles teased apart. It is all happening so slowly. Over the course of an hour her hips are lifted. Everything inflamed. Strain gives in to tear, what grew together separated abruptly. Too small fibers estranged.
After surgery it is throat not back that is sore. They tell me I have been screaming but the tube down my throat let out no sound. There is proof of this tube nowhere but my pain. In this room all the family I have left gathers. Room threadbare. When they took the stitches out, I asked if I could keep the remaining thread. Bits that weren’t absorbed. Whetted in my mouth, it dissolves quickly. No string left to hold me. I leave undone.