No Other Option
by Belinda Roddie
Mother, you expected the aesthetic
of the prosthetic to be smoother,
leaner, meaner, and more efficient.
You shift on one hip and take trips
to the bathroom, where you debate
a veneer for your mirror. Father,
you felt sick to your stomach when
the cold, slick knife made its way
into her dull, muted flesh. The death
of the tissue was a brand new testament
to you and your wife: Chapter Sixty
in your book of epiphanies, and mortality.
Ah, the pining magenta-rimmed nostalgia
of another baby boomer amputee.
And I, I find solace in deshelling
clams for dinner, prying soft white
and gray bodies from their cold attached
homes. I deshell and deshell and deshell
them in a kitchen packed with appliances
older than I am - jarred heirlooms more
resilient than I am, bird blue and lime green
and gold. Those sad little gastropods do not
have limbs to worry about losing; only
the puckering air of a 1990's Frigidaire.
I will eat with you, Father - and Mother,
here is your wine. I won't comment on
your artificial bones as we dine. In a
room full of dead silver and long-stemmed
glasses never drunk from, I feel sealed
in the wood of cabinets, like amber peeled
in shaved curls from the backyard tree. Mother,
tell me what it was like to be under anesthesia.
Did you dream of growing wings instead of
bee stings, prickling needles and blades
scraping away at your epidermal decay? You
are sick no longer - poor woman. She would
sooner melt her pearls in a bowl than let
the body take second place to the soul.