I thank him who set my splintered bone
And gave life bàck to flesh around my thumb
That I might once more hold hands with the world.
Who, with his dexterous hands and whetted eye,
Gave back the fulcrum to my hand
So it could once more spin and twirl
And summon forth, perhaps, a swirl
Of words that glide and curl
Like fragrance from some unseen flower.
Three years have passed now
Since the accident, three years
Since he with so much care reset
Those broken shards of thumb,
The injury séems like dream of day.
So though I seldom think of him,
(For who holds memory in a thumb?)
I sometimes spread and look unthinkingly
Upon the webbing of my hand
Where, within the vein that rivers down
Between the index and the thumb,
I see once more the gratitude I owe to him.
In the December of 2012, I broke the base of my right thumb (the metacarpal bone) while playing football and had to have surgery. Set in plaster for six weeks, and terribly weak for two months after, I remember wondering if my thumb would ever be the same again. It was more or less so (when I wrote this poem in early 2016) and for that I am very grateful to my doctor.
It so happened that I (hairline) fractured the same thumb in February 2018. It did not require surgery again, but I did have to wear a thumb splint for seven or eight excruciatingly long weeks.