"In gratitude for the relief of human
suffering by the inhaling of ether
a citizen of Boston has erected this monument."
-Monument to Ether, Boston Public Garden
through the scene draped and readied
for screaming amputation,
the gleaming instruments
just as cold in stone.
The doctors must have felt like gods
sending the patient into deathlike sleep,
bringing him back like Lazarus.
Their triumph rises in the marble:
tier on tier of calm gratitude
impervious to the brittle air
where anger can flare like a quick match
and words blaze high and rough
I yearn to be soft,
to ride on coasts of painless night
and feel time like slow honey
Carry me on clouds
to a floating place.
Do not cut out my heart
until I sleep.