The Blue Sock

You break a hip.
The world you stand upon
is broken. Across the chasm
of your fractured consciousness
a kindly nurse gives you
a memory test: asks you
to remember three words.
She will ask you later
what they were. Sock, she says.
Blue, she says, and Bed.
Then rapidly she asks you
What day is it? What month?
What year? What is your name?

You hesitate. Your name?
Which name? The formal name
on your medical record?
Your childhood name, the one
that in secret is most yourself?
Your married name? You taste
the foreign of it, even after
fifty-eight years of marriage.

Suddenly your nurse is called away
to some emergency down the hall.
Days pass. She does not return,
and you wonder, what are you to do
with this blue sock under the bed?

From The Weight of Love (Negative Capability Press, 2019) by Pat Schneider. Copyright © 2019 by Pat Schneider. Used with the permission of the Estate of Pat Schneider.