The mask on baby’s face
And he knew and didn’t know what was going on;
He had blurred vision
And an amnestic cocktail coursing through his veins already —
So he wouldn’t remember me standing above him holding his small hands down,
Pinning them down
On the inflexible table
In the stark, sterile operating room
With big eyes looking down at him
as he struggled, struggled, against the sleeping mask.
It was like I had smothered baby with a pillow.
Or had held his head underwater.
He went limp,
And the anesthesia team went on to complete their tasks
To keep him asleep
So the surgeon could slice his tumor out
And make him swallow comfortably again.
Do two-year-olds get headaches?
Baby was limp.
I didn’t have to hold his hands down anymore.
The monitors were now buzzing.
Baby was sleeping peacefully and tape was placed on his delicate eyelashes
And a tube slid down his tiny throat.
And a catheter inserted into his miniature body
And he was flipped and turned and taped and positioned
So the surgeon could have the best view.
But after the trauma was over,
The alarms were still there, small beeps now,
And baby got flipped and turned around again, upwards
Like the sleeping angel he started as.
And the nurse took out a comb and smoothed his wispy hair
And a wet wipe
To clean off the blood caked around his small ears.