Alexandra Teague • What I Know for Sure

When I look at my abdomen, I see a scar turning
back to lighter skin from where a surgeon cut

five inches across, and just before this, I remember
trying to stop screaming as my intestine ruptured

by reciting names-first middle and last-
of everyone I could think of, though I do not know

for sure if I got all the middle names right,
or if I have ever known yours.

In last Thursday’s Kansas City Star, I saw a photo
of an x-ray of a man’s head imbedded with a nailgun nail

that, according to the story, had missed his eyes
and seven centers of planning and purpose inside

his frontal lobe and done, really, no damage.
The doctors called this a true miracle,

which made me think that death does not happen
by cause and effect, though I do not know for sure

that the story or picture or both had not been doctored
to improve circulation, as though printed words

and paper are, the same as us, a living body.
My parents gave me the middle name Rachael

for its numerological value, and my whole name
therefore adds up to seven, which is said to be lucky.

The pre-surgical report describes me as being
of steady age which makes me wonder if some

people’s ages are in visible flux.
I do not regularly sign my middle name or initial.

The surgeon recorded cutting me with a ten blade
just below McBurney’s point.

Even having been opened there,
I do not recognize this name as my body.