Defining 50 Lesions

— Lory Bedikian

Aftermath of father remembering Lebanon,
            aftermath of mother remembering Syria

could take its toll in the hemispheres
            of brain matter and landscapes,

or returning thoughts that their mothers buried
            themselves under the amber lights

of fire deep into the night and then died
            quiet deaths, deaths they never spoke of.

Fifty seems large, a golden anniversary of some
            sort, a number the neurologist utters

as he checks the final MRI results.
            Possibly a tally of all the losses,

the children who kept slipping away month
            after month to join all the others,

while we continued to seal the cracks in the walls
            of a home that could never be finished.

Tally of surgeries, the rude remarks
            strewn from their mouths, late-night drives

to the hospital to check small pulses, small wires
            reaching up to cold, sterile machines,

jumping off the diving board into the large jaws
            of motherhood, tally of no sleep

for three years, nights of caramel corn and coffee
            while the wicked kitchen clock wouldn’t

stop its metronome of noise. Fifty. Could have been
            a hundred. Instead it’s five decades

of consecrated debris left in the mind
            turning into untranslated hieroglyphs,

scars of unlimited force and damage.

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