Teena cradles my head in her hands and checks my tide. She tells me my body knows how to heal from the trauma, that I am no longer in the past and that I must explore the present. I probe consciousness into my hip, listen deeply. I feel the implant as a foreign object: a steel shaft which is none of me.
As she lays her hands on the scar, she says in time the steel will become the same as the femur it was driven into. I don’t know if she means symbolically or biologically, but I trust her, speak to my living bone, remembering its strength and loyalty before the accident. Lucid dreaming under her healing hands brings imagery of a blade. I remember Charlemagne’s jewel-studded Joyeuse in its glass case when I visited a special exhibit of ancient swords at my favorite Paris haunt, le musée de Cluny.
Three summers ago, taking advantage of Senior access to University of Colorado classes, I audited an advanced French literature class. The professor was brilliant. We read 12th century le Chanson de Roland in the original. What joy I experienced translating sentences far beyond my college French, checking my understanding side-by-side with my dog-eared, pen-annotated 1979 edition of the Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. For bone, I reread the great narrative poem–themes of pride and revenge, recklessness and loss, grief and redemption–as Roland battles against the Mohammedans to protect his liege.
Images from the 16th century Capela dos Ossos in Evora, Portugal, travel photos, my niece’s Instagram pics, and an x-ray image illustrate this digital story inspired by The Song of Roland’s imagery and rhyme. The Portuguese inscription silently opening the piece translates as We bones that here are, for yours await