Invasive Procedure, Pipeline

There are all kinds of rescue. 
Someone told me once if you weren’t cracking ribs, you weren’t pushing hard enough. 

Maybe this is the metaphor we were all looking for that slow dreamy afternoon: that no life is saved without doing harm somehow. Like when they ask me why I don’t practice medicine, and there is no answer to get easier in the telling. 
But never mind that. 

Her lips were blue at first; less so by the time he had breathed/pushed/breathed and they slid 
the scope down her throat, tubed & bagged her. All the while bikini- and brief-clad strangers stand gaping, become 
a little less than strangers 
while they watch the tragedy being wrapped up in an army of EMTs. 
Clear fluids flowing, artificial arms squeezing, anything, everything to keep her body warm, 
to jog the heart into re-knowing its beat. 

Did she see while she was there, face down in the water for that long pair of minutes? while they breathed and pushed and breathed again? riverlight at the end of a tunnel, filtered sun? Did she know she wasn’t alone? That for a moment the world woke up and stood still and the bikini-ers looked away from their iPhones and the dogs hung quiet and every damn one of us moved aside so they could get to her, get her pulse to do its thing?

Joanna Suzanne Lee is apparently having a hard time doing away with her tendency toward line breaks. An erstwhile poetess, she is responsible for wordsmithery & related shenanigans from Shockoe Bottom to South of the James under the big bright umbrella of River City Poets. You can keep up with her at