• Lyle Clears My Throat

    Anders Carlson-Wee

    Summer 2017

    Fair warning: I gotta roll my mother
    every half hour or so to curb bedsores,
    but I wanna hear this story. Just keep
    it down cause she’s asleep and I need
    the door cracked to hear her heart.
    Well, not her heart. The monitor is what
    I listen to. It’s been a year this June.
    I come upstairs and found her on the floor,
    drove her to local before they coptered us
    to the U. Let me roll her quick and you
    can start your story, which I’m dying
    to hear. Where we’re at now, she can’t lift
    her own arm, but if you lift it to start with
    she can ease it back down real slow,
    controlling the speed and choosing
    where it lands, you know? They got her
    on a food tube and all that, machines
    tracking her heart and lungs, the works.
    She’s basically comatose, but she can shake
    her head for no and you’d be surprised
    how much power that gives you.
    They had her hooked up to this thing––
    I don’t know what you call it––a shock
    treatment kind of thing they hoped
    would give her back her speech. But when
    they explained all this she shook her head.
    Doc said shake once for yes and four for no.

    Anders Carlson-Wee is a 2015 NEA Fellow and the author of Dynamite, winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Prize. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, New England Review, The Sun, Narrative, Best New Poets, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading.

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