The first death
of my life
enters my sleep
in a tiny dose.
Pale grey jelly bean
on the MRI,
a speck of the brain
that’s never coming back.
of my body un-synched:
and finger strength.
New brain cells sprout,
like green seedlings
on a forest floor,
the first responders.
(out of left field)
my new best friend
takes the seat
I have offered him.
am a writer and poet, now living in Durham,
North Carolina. In October 2014, in California,
I had an ischemic stroke in my sleep and
was not treated for 11 hours. I was in good
physical shape, walking the steep hills of San Francisco,
but I was not watching my blood pressure or my
I learned to walk without a cane within a week. I’ve
re-learned how to play guitar, and type on my laptop,
which made me wonder: “Why are all the good letters of
the English alphabet on the left side of the keyboard?”
I would like to see more depression counseling
referrals available upon hospital discharge, not just
physical therapy scheduling. I experienced debilitating
depression two months post-stroke, which caused me to
leave California and take up residence in affordable North
Carolina, closer to my adult daughters.
I believe that my stroke is a new friend who has taught
me a deeper sense of compassion, self-care and value of
life on this planet.
Durham, North Carolina