When I Died of a Common Brain Condition

By Scott Beal

were they relieved that my suffering was over

had I told them my one great fear

was being unable to remember or think

in the way that was mine

did they believe they’d already lost me

as my words grew baffling and cruel

had it been a burden to visit me

in a room with a tray table

or had they been grateful to see

my stomach rising and falling

how my hands moved telling a story

I’d told five minutes before


were they glad of the way I stuttered

and threw a water glass across the room

because it meant I was trying

to fight back to them

did they stay beside me while I slept

building a diorama inside my body

of the apartment where we had lived

did they move me from stove to table

with a pan of eggs and a spatula

did they keep their voices small

to reach the little me inside the big me

as they watched my face in the dark

when my eyes opened

which eyes opened


Scott Beal is the author of Wait ‘Til You Have Real Problems (Dzanc Books, 2014). His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in The Collagist, Chattahoochee Review, Four Way Review, SiDEKiCK, and other journals. He teaches in the Sweetland Center for Writing at the University of Michigan and serves as Dzanc Writer-in-Residence at Ann Arbor Open School. He co-hosts a monthly reading series called Skazat! in Ann Arbor.