Coupon clipper

She saved soaps, too,

rolled slivers into balls

and served them up

like sherbet

in a glass dish.

On Saturday we joined her

as she hit the sales –

the garage and yard and supermarket sales.

She was a bulk buyer,

ahead of her time,

filling first the wagon

and then the freezer.

Yes, together we sailed

that blacktop of cash,

we sunned on a river of crude.

And never once did I see

the calamity to be,

never once the fray in her mood.

Nor did I wonder

amid all that plunder

if the tack of our skipper

served the sailor in me.

You remember that game Operation?

With the tweezers and slots for bones or whatever? Well it’s not like that.

First you get naked in a gown. Then they wheel you off and it’s like a ride, especially when you bust through the swinging doors. Then a cute nurse asks you some questions (I got them all right). Then come the monitors (“I can handle this”) and the blood-pressure check (“I can handle this”) and the I.V. (“No, not that!”). Then they park you with all the rest and you wonder what everyone’s in for.

In the operating room it’s cool and they’re all smiling. You think you are, too, until they say, “Don’t worry.” Then they give you a warm blanket (“Nice!”) and say, “OK, time to sleep.” Then they turn on the I.V. and it’s like someone hit your wrist with a two-by-four (“OWW! What the- ?!!”). You stare at them and it in disbelief. Then you fall asleep.