I woke in the middle of the night
a poem of dread lingering, forming in my head 
in the predawn hours.
One step in front of the other, I have to keep thinking.
Groan in my soul as I awake. Feet hit the floor. Heart in throat.
In the dark cold I showered
bubbles over my knee, last time for awhile
I scrubbed clean for the surgeons eye.
Comfortable clothes, check.
earrings out check, contacts out check.
Nothing but me.

I don’t need coffee,
my nerves are sufficient.
I cry.
My mom in her sweetness appears. 
I hug my mom and cry. 
I only let half out,
if I let it all out it won’t stop.
I write a note to my kids, just in case
…let the last word from me be love. 

“I feel like i’m walking to my death bed,” I murmur.
“You’re not” my dear says.

Its time and I know it. I have everything. 
I wish I didn’t.
A lean into my mom
I give kiss to my dad.
Their slumber stirred by parental devotion,
is not lost on me. 
They and their robes and me in my fear
all mixed together like one breath taken together.
Then I glimpse, the constant one standing at the door
His countenance says car ready, car heated.
He beckons and I get in.

Silence at first. and then music.
politics and Christmas are too much…I need soothing.
I state some deep remorse, he nods. He makes a joke. I half give weight to it.
We pull up, we are in the dark.
The windows look bright with noise. 
and alertness. and beeps. and people. 
I feel unready. I feel stuck to my seat.
Fear is my seat belt, self protection the latch.
dare i unhinge it and walk in this torturous trap?
I think, one foot in front of the other. deep breath. click.

We walk in. I am too alert and seeing everything.
There are people waiting for their loved ones.
The TV is loud. The receptionist is too. Her cheerfulness irks me.
It contrasts the state of my spirit.
I fill out papers and sign my name. He signs his. This team.
and then we sit far away from the TV.

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