"Prose Poems"

By Michael Estabrook


Feeling like James Bond or wishing that I were like James Bond, urbane I guess you'd call it, comfortable as a cat anyplace, in any setting, always light on my feet, street wise, quick witted, the correct answer and course of action ever at the ready. Instead of as I am now after flying to Detroit from Boston for a family wedding, 6 hours door to door, to the hotel and I'm heavy-eyed, exhausted, my head spinning, my back and feet hurting - say where is good old 007 when I need him anyway?


I love rubbing my wife's feet, don't do it as much as I should, maybe once a month or so. I saunter across the room unexpectedly, sit beside her on the sofa. She perks up immediately like a retriever spotting a pheasant or a grouse, rushes to the drawer to retrieve the tube of fragrant ointment, fetches a blanket, props up her pillows, lies flat, finally placing her precious feet gently on my lap. These are the happiest moments for her, me rubbing her feet tenderly, rubbing in the smooth white crème, pulling on her toes, flexing her feet forward and back. It's a funny feeling, a good feeling, to know that I'm the only man in the world allowed to rub my wife's feet, something only she and I do together, exclusively.

Pigging Out

Oedipus, The Rose Tattoo, Swan Lake, Scapin, Tosca, Three Penny Opera, Cosi van Tutti, "I'm pigging out on all these cultural things," I said, glancing over at my wife. "Yes, yes, you are." She continued eating her frozen yogurt, licking her cold spoon almost seductively. "Well, is that bad?" "No, of course not, it's fun to see you enjoying yourself." "Do you mind going to all these cultural events?" "No, of course not. I love it too." That's good, I thought, even though we don't have the money for all this it will be worth it in the long run, I suppose, soaking up all this art like a tattered old sink sponge after the busy dirty weekend party of our lives.

The proper way to burp a baby

Most of the time I hold her over my shoulder, my left shoulder, I seem more comfortable doing things on my left side. I hold her there patting her back gently until she burps a little butterfly burp. Other times I sit her up on my leg, cradle her there, tap her back. And still other times she'll be squirming on her tummy or lying on her side, quiet as a lump of classroom clay warming on the windowsill in the sun and the burp will come just as natural as you please. And then of course there are those aberrant little burps that pop out unexpectedly, completely unplanned for, as if with minds of their own. Upon reflection there does not seem to be a universally correct way to burp a baby.

Laparoscopic Fundoplication

In the hospital at the bedside of our daughter as she recovers from surgery on her stomach, to fix her acid reflux problem, officially known as GERD: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. The surgical procedure is called Laparoscopic Fundoplication - "the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide, a harmless gas, through a small incision at the naval. The laparoscope, a thin tube carrying the videocamera, is inserted. Four pinpoint incisions are then made in the upper abdomen through which needle-like instruments are inserted. These act as the hands of the surgeon, allowing him or her to dissect and suture. The upper part of the stomach is wrapped and sutured around both sides of the esophagus."1 This modern procedure can help to prevent cancer of the esophagus, a fatal condition because the docs haven't yet figured out how to give you a fake esophagus if the one you were born with craps out. Amazing when you think an esophagus is only a tube, and how can they make intricate parts like hip joints and complicated organs like hearts and they can't even make a simple stupid tube. Anyway, she's fine, she'll be OK, the doc did a good job and the nurses are fine too. But she's in pain and thirsty and groggy from the anesthesia, and even though the whole thing will help her be healthier for the rest of her life and I'm still distressed and all choked up watching my beautiful daughter suffer.

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