After the Surgery
He has traveled from New York to Vermont and back again and the only map he has is the one on his belly. A new route carved over the old one. First surgery, second surgery. He lifts his shirt to show my son. See this road? Follow it all the way to here, take a left and you’ll be in Pennsylvania. We intend to head north when we leave the hospital, head for the hills and the work that must be done to open the lake house for summer. Instead we head east, back to Vermont. This is not home. My husband knows I need to travel, even when I do not. We drive onto the ferry, cross the lake. Should we have paid the ferryman? In the time it takes one cloud to traverse the day’s blue sky, green mountain to green mountain, we are lost. Windows down, each deep breath replaces hospital bleach with spring manure. Refresh, renew. Each cow we see wears one too many black You are here spots. I let my daughter-body drift out of the car, straddle a cow. If we move slowly, I can get home. My father has given me a map I can not read. Tom-tom, tom-tom. If I had an internal positioning system, I would know what to do with the lines, the ones on the road, the ones cutting across his body. Let’s rip the map. You take half. I’ll take half. One of us will know where to go. South, north. East, west. Orwell. Brandon. Vergennes. Middlebury. I drag my finger across the map’s wrinkled remains. Ferry to New York. I have never been sure of the plan. Lost or found?