With ironic perfection,
Debra suffered an aortic dissection
when her boyfriend of three years, Jake,
quietly suggested they take a little break.
She experienced a sharp shearing pain
that radiated down her back and up again
Her vision blurred, and she lost her breath.
As the world went dark, she prepared for death.
She woke up in a hospital bed,
steadily beeping machines near her head.
A cracked sternum and surgical incision.
She stared blankly at her television.
Her cardiologist thought the cause was hypertension.
He explained her condition to her with condescension.
Some nurses were brusque, others were gentle and kind.
Friends asked to visit, but she politely declined.
Wilting yellow roses from the grocery store
too far away for her to smash onto the floor.
If Jake had the courage to visit her face to face,
she’d tell him to go launch himself into deep space.