the healing muse

Volume 13, 2013

On the Way to Seder, My Husband Answers

Jen Karetnick

phone calls from patients, their parents or partners,
repeating what he has already said half a dozen times

in the office—“I know the auras are uncomfortable,
but they’re better than grand mal seizures, and that’s

what medication will help to prevent”—and dispensing
predictions no one wants to hear—“No, I don’t think

he’ll come home; the stroke was catastrophic”—but
are asked for over and over in the hopes they will change,

while I shush the kids in the backseat, stop them from shouting
with too much apparent joy in their voices, keep the radio

playing Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” turned down. Soon
we will dissect the Seder plate, digest the bitter

herbs, finger the salt dried on the easily torn skin
of faith. We will recite the plagues: boils, murrain,

the lice we have been visited by several times this year.
On this night, we will open the door for a rogue spirit

who might drink our wine but not heal vertigo; on this night
we will recline on a pillow that can’t fuse a broken

spine. On this night, the cell phone chirps and sings,
and there are no miracles beyond what can be doctored.

Back to Volume 13, Table of Contents

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