Cleft Lip and Palate

Poem: Front Clasp


This is another poem I wrote in high school. I titled it “Front Clasp” because it is the only positive thing that I recall about the three days I spent in the hospital post-operation after a  pharyngeal flap surgery completed when I was six years old.

The memories of that surgery are disjointed. The poem reflects that in its short, staccato phrasing and lines. I remember snippets of visuals from the three days I stayed in the hospital. Time is slippery. The recollections in the poem may have taken place in 15 minutes or over the course of 2 hours. Hopefully, the reader can pick up on the rhythm, or lack thereof, in the words, phrasing, and punctuation, losing their sense of time along with the writer. There is a start-and-stall nature to the poem that expresses the time before discharge after a hospital stay. It is all “hurry up and wait,” something a child cannot properly process because it is disorienting.  

The inspiration for the poem was the memory of the green corduroy pants with a clasp in the front. Few of my other pants had such a clasp. They had buttons. So much in the same way that Marcel Proust’s memory of the taste of the madeleine brought him back to his childhood in his book In Search of Lost Time, these green corduroy pants reminded me of this surgery and the many that would follow to repair my cleft lip and palate in order to finish God’s work. 

Enjoy another one from the archives! Thanks for reading.  


Front clasp

Metal on metal

Green cordoroys

Blue Sweater

Wearing clothes

First time in days


I’m going home from the hospital

I ate the Ice cream

Like they told me

So I can go home,

Their rules

Not mine

Scrambled eggs when I get home

Mom says


Things going by fast again

It’s been slow

For so long.

Three days

feels like

three months



People moving round

Flying past me

Papers, doctors, nurses, curtains, gurneys, sheets, kids, gauze, blood


Blue blurred into blue

Get me outta here



Cold air rushes to my cheeks

First time in days



Cars, horns, mom’s voice


Everthing exaggerated

Faster, louder than before


I’m still slow

Tired, worn

Sore, swollen, bruised

I just want to go home

2 thoughts on “Poem: Front Clasp

  1. Thank you for sharing. Amazing the things we remember. Sometimes, I wonder why something or things that would seem to be insignificant stick. Then it makes sense…Always talented Kara! ….susan

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    1. I don’t know why we, nor I, remember what I do. I just know my memory is a long one. This isn’t my finest work, but writing has always been a way for me to reckon with all my feelings about the past. Writing works every time.

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