You were not there the night I saw stars, though I am certain I told you about the night I saw stars, about how I had never believed it was possible to see stars that way, how I believed it was a trope of cartoons or comics. The night I saw stars, I learned that the body can withstand tremendous suffering, that it learns to see differently because of pain. After the surgery, the doctor told my mother that I thanked him in the recovery room. I do not remember thanking him, was much too sedated to know what I was saying, but I know that doctor walked into the waiting room to tell my mother I had thanked him. I know he said it with tears in his eyes. I know the stars I saw were not real, know they were the result of trauma, of the occipital bouncing off the skull. I know that the brain is fragile. I remember dissecting the brains of rats in college physiology, taking cross sections and samples. I know this is not scientific, but I believe my brain has a cross section for gratitude, believe my brain has a cross section for grief. I know that the doctor with tears in his eyes could not fix all the bones that shattered the night I saw stars. I know that the stars believed us well-matched. I know we were both born on a cusp, born into a thing that both was and was not, born into the margins, under a word used to describe margins, a word used to describe the valves of the heart, a word used to describe the point on a curve where two branches meet, the point where those branches die out, the point where they cease to flower.

Elizabeth Wade holds degrees from Davidson College and the University of Alabama. Her poetry and prose appear in Kenyon Review Online, DIAGRAM, the Oxford American, The Rumpus, and others. She lives in Fredericksburg, VA, where she often walks her dog on roads once traveled by both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.