After the Attempt

Edgar Kunz

They took your shoelaces,
your carabiner of tooth- 
edged keys, but left you 
your belt, which you cinched
over your loopless scrubs.

They shaved your scalp
for the stitches but missed
a tuft above your ear
that catches the light
from the hingeless windows.

The receptionist holds up
a small paper bag
stapled shut. Whatever
you had worth saving.
You look, then look away.

Once, hungover
on a gut-and-remodel job
in Grafton, you cracked the root
of your nose with your claw-
hammer's backswing.

You stood very still after,
watching your blood scatter 
on the plywood floor, alien
and bright as coins
from a distant country.