Poem of the Week-The Brace

After my father had surgery

in 1962

To remove a tumor

growing on his spine.

He had to wear

a brace

similar to a cervical collar,

My mom Nita

Father Michel

Sister Elyse

would watch television

 in the basement of our

Garden City Park Cape Cod.

If Dad sat

in the strata lounger

he relieved any pressure

the device

had on his back.

The basement

was our favorite room

 Cool in the summer

 warm in the winter.

I was fascinated

by the brace

that controlled his body

The way the rigid metal

held his face.

his adam apple

was restricted


he tried to turn.

the method in which

it supported his neck

the stained rubber padding

where he placed his chin

 When the doctor

Had notified dad

That it was okay

To stop wearing

The head equipment

a joy percolated

 for the four of us.

Dad removed it

while we watched television

In the basement.

Dad had never complained

about the brace

but the day

after he stopped wearing it

 he told my mom, “Something is wrong.

I feel a spasm

traveling down my back.”

 Within a day

 Dad had a second surgery

 That left him paralyzed

 from the waist down.

 My mom blamed

the device

and doctor

for the recurrence

of cancer.

 I would like to purge

 the memory.

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