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Left with a Hole 2010

Janet Kuypers
(poetry converted to prose)

    you ever see tee vee shows or in the movies, how some protagonist would fall into a coma (i don’t know from what, a gun shot, a car crash)... well, every time they wake up from their coma, and they’re under from like four weeks to four years, they come to and they’re mentally just fine. they talk in complete sentences, and they remember what happened to them right up until the catastrophe. but let me be the voice of experience. in the real world, that’s not the way it goes. you don’t remember what happened right before the coma began, you’ll wake up confused, because your long-term memory never got the chance to save your short-term memories from that fateful day. when you wake up, you’ll have to train yourself to walk and talk and eat again. you’ll fall out of your hospital bed trying to leave. you’ll want to kill the people who did this to you, you’ll want to scream your story to the world as they put you in restraints at night (you know, for your own protection).
    you’ll want to rip that food tube out of you, but you’ll be afraid to put food in your mouth. look, you’ll have to remind yourself that you’ve done this before, it’s not hard, everyone does it. put some food on a fork, put it in your mouth, remove fork, start chewing, and just swallow. I know it seems strange, but you can do this.
    you have to build your life again, piece by piece, I mean, you did this from scratch when you were a baby, you’re an adult now, you can retrain yourself.
    people will ask you if you remember what happened to you that fateful day, and they’ll think it’s just like the movies, and everyone just snaps out of their coma good as new. you won’t know how to tell them that you’ll never be as good as new and nothing you can say will make them understand. even though you woke up, those bastards who did this to you, they took so much that you can’t even remember the seconds before your life was forever changed for the worse. you’re left with a hole. they even took your memories of the last seconds of your life from you.

Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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