Winter 1980 • Vol. II No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1980 |

Elective Surgery

No accusations, love, about the past.   Think only of the pleasures of this night, all that we have made together. What false   note could have led to such a harmony that silence itself resounds with the after-   shock of love? Nothing is missing. Nor have I tried to keep you in the dark,   hid behind lies, avoided certain facts. Yet since life is nothing but change, I thought   before I told you how I came to be, you first should know the woman that I am.   What loss is there in that? Still like the rest of them, you also say I've squandered   my treasures in a moment of frivolity. Go on. No need to hide it. You wear   the same sad look my surgeon wore the day before the operation, when he came   to ask if I really meant to have it done. "The rest we can undo," he said,   "but this is irreversible." How I wanted to say, "Please, you're lifting a terrible burden   from me. Let it be gone. Let it be done. I have been pricked enough!" But do

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David Bergman is the author most recently of The Poetry of Disturbance: The Discomforts of Postwar American Poetry (Cambridge, 2015). His latest book of poetry is Fortunate Light (Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013). He teaches at Towson University.

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