a form of heat exchanger in which hot waste gases from a furnace are conducted continuously along a system of flues where they impart heat to incoming air or gaseous fuel.

How weirdly illness changes time and goals–
everything sticky slow and progress ant-sized–
that our bodies heal at all seems miraculous.

Like trying to watch Venus make its crawl
on the sun a day early or while lightning strikes,
how weirdly illness changes time. And goals

become ridiculous. The prayer for normal
bowel movements is such a blow to pride
that our bodies heal. Of all the miracles

I know, I think now of my father’s heart muscle,
its pace currently regulated by an appliance.
How weird. Illness changes time, and goals

conduct themselves along a flue, heating fuel
and air like machines, leaving us febrile,
but our bodies heal sometimes, which seems miraculous

to me now, given how much can go awry
in even this age of advancing medical science.
How weirdly illness changes time and goals
into the age of fucking miracles.


Tuesday is my one-week post-gallbladder-removal mark, and Wednesday is my father’s one-week post-tumor-removal mark. My surgery was planned; his was not. We both make slow progress back toward health and normalcy, though I’m closer to home than he is, since my gallbladder wasn’t as big a villain as his tumor, and my surgery nowhere near as violent as his.

I was so pleased with my surgical team–if you read my gallbladder post, you’ll be happy to know I awoke in recovery with four x’s on my right hand. I did question the wisdom of asking for them in permanent marker as they stayed there day after day (but they’re gone now). My parents are pleased with Dad’s surgeon (and I have to say my mother is at a very, very picky place right now when it comes to health care).

What I tried to convey in the villanelle is the weirdness of healing. I told my husband this evening I was officially tired of not feeling well, which I’m sure means I’m just about better.

But progress comes slowly sometimes. This is actually the first villanelle I’ve ever written without having to look up the form–and I’ve written a lot of villanelles. (And then I did look it up just to double-check.)

Looking up recuperation, I found recuperator and I’m really loving the idea of recuperation as a machine–the product of science and reason. But there’s part of me that will always, always, long for and believe in the age of fucking miracles.

(Can you tell I’ve spent time watching the third season of Deadwood as part of my recuperator time?)

One response to “Recuperator

  1. Hope you and your Dad feel much better soon. Illness has a unique way of bringing things into perspective, like nothing else. Still sending lots of healing prayers and positive thoughts to you, your Dad, and your entire family. Please try to rest and take care of yourself. I know it is much easier said than done.

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