Lightning in the Brain

A clock and a crucifix dangle from nails
in my cell at Saint Luke’s hospital.
The clock twitches, its tic a telltale sign: Things will not
be all right. I’ll be stuck like the second hand,
jittering between one second and the next.

Is it the battery? Is it the brain?
I clutch the left side of my face. The current
pulsates, muscles flinch and flash, and lips
lurch toward the jawline, slurring speech.
Better to be speechless. Why are you sobbing

in your mother’s arms, saying I’m sorry, I’m sorry?
Don’t you deserve this? To be split open
from the inside like a tree? To be struck black
by lightning? There is justice in your jagged scar.
She did nothing to deserve you, the lightning jolt,

the jerk of her 28-year-old son, except to long
for your return, and pray for the strength
to climb the shaggy trunk into the branches
of lightning, and pluck the tumor from your brain.