By Angela Sucich

April 10, 2023


Slim chance the surgeon gives, but like a tiny bird, I look for crumbs. Nurses flit in, check the PICC line, IV tubing. My mother’s a sleeping marionette, strings at rest. The machines don’t rouse her; she’s hidden deep, like the discrete metal clip in her frontal lobe stopping the hemorrhaging. I once thought metal inside a body made a cyborg, something reconstructed, improved. Perhaps she could be one, if cyborgs are ever mothers.  

After repairing her ruptured aneurysm, her doctors still worry about blood-on-the-brain; the risk of stroke. Funny how that word can refer to both a deadly blow, and my hand caressing her hand.  

When she comes to, the doctors give her words they want her to give back. One is tulip. She never forgets it. She also tries remembering her house. In her mind, she reaches the front door, wonders what it’s for—a flap of wood, no different from a white tile foyer, a fluorescent-lit kitchen, or a penlight to the eye. Way stations. But she goes there again and again, not knowing that classical rhetoricians went there, too, walking their memory palaces to prepare their brains. Leaving breadcrumbs to follow home.  

Sometimes I think it’s a dream: I am the dream of a daughter whose mother lived after all, survived to chat about the next lunch place she wanted to try or how her granddaughter won her last volleyball game.

If my mother is a cyborg, I am a dream. In this dream I am bringing her tulips.


Angela Sucich holds a Ph.D. in Medieval Literature from the University of Washington. Her poems have appeared in Nimrod International Journal, Cave Wall, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere. She was honorably mentioned for the 2021 Pablo Neruda Prize. Her forthcoming chapbook, Illuminated Creatures, won the 2022 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition.


Image by Ylanite Koppens courtesy of Pexels

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