Poem from Christopher Bernard

An Ode to My Appendix

O you useless thing! excrescence waggling
at the dead end of the bag of anatomy
that sits like a judge’s wig on the maze of small
snaking intestine, waiting there like a bandit
to trap the unsuspecting on their long journey to the sewer,
and then inflate out of all proportion to sense or nonsense,
cause earthquakes across the belly’s terra firma,
send waves of fever to cloud the imperious mind,
and bring the mighty down over an undigested tomato seed!

O rag of flesh! O slippery traitor! O itchy little Finger of Fate!
O miserable reminder of our weakness and God’s power!
One cannot get rid of you soon enough! 

What a miserable twenty-four hours! Convulsed at 7 pm,
to the hospital next day for hours of tests,
then off to the ER, in suspense among a fluttering crowd
of nurses, MAs, doctors, surgeons, new patients,
then spirited to pre-op and OR, in suspense awaiting the outcome
of two emergency caesarians (women and children first!),
then, the last thing before going under, a glance
at a big clock showing ten minutes to midnight . . . 

No one still knows any reason
an appendix was ever there in the first place. Some say
it had something to do with the “immune system.” I say,
if that case, it was made to help immunize the world from the likes of us!

No, you are probably just one of God’s little jokes: 
to give idle surgeons something to keep their hands busy 
when they don’t have anything better to do on a Friday at midnight.


Christopher Bernard’s collection The Socialist’s Garden of Verses won a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and was named one of the “Top 100 Indie Books of 2021” by Kirkus Reviews. His two “tales for children and their adults” – If You Ride A Crooked Trolley . . . and The Judgment Of Biestia – will be available in December 2023.