Moments in the OR

sterile air filters
through my white papery mask
I exhale again

goose bumps dot my skin
chilly drafts brush my bare arms
another cold room

everyone in blue
baggy pants sweep the floor tiles
the drawstring dangles

under white blankets
the patient is still awake
her nervous arms shift

milky white fluid
traversing the IV tube
her eyes slowly close

white light from above
shining on her sleeping face
she is motionless

soapy white suds foam
warm water washes me clean
done, elbows dripping

drying left then right
arms swoosh into the blue gown
my long paper shield

white rubbery gloves
receive my diving fingers
now we can begin

Janet Lee, Chicago, Class of 2003