Suppose we tell the story in the waiting room
(the story of our industry, its origins)
with rows of cheery photographs in cherry frames
spaced evenly from here to the reception desk
as if they were the rivets, screws or bolts that fixed
the atmosphere in place like flensed skin to a face –
young gallants, gone to beat the Bosch, being gurneyed in,
what once was ruddy, fair or freckled now collapsed,
the teeth and gums a ticket punched repeatedly,
and scarves of jaw round throats that bob like rabbit scuts;
Gillies and his team against that dark monsoon,
remaking the full moon out of the gibbous moon,
wading in among the mess of broken struts
and sheared off boyish features to peer tidily,
opening the skin where it’s still cleanly hasped
to swipe a pin-jigged strip, or part the red and glean
a nugget of rib cartilage with tensed finesse,
the keystone for a second nose, which is then stitched
quite delicately whole, to an almost statuesque
quality; the one young man who fled for home
half-done but done with surgery, his (nineteenth?) stint
beneath the blade a triumph but too much for him.