Murphy’s Law

30 rabies shots, my uncle got
when, after cornering a rat for fun,
and drunk, it lept and bit his bare chest.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, they
say—what can happen, will—Which is what
my dad was thinking when he passed the pub

so aptly named on the day they sawed
through my skull. This is the perversity
of the universe. You go outside

to catch your breath and butcher’s knives wink
in every window. Miles’ trumpet intones
So What while atom bombs dream of flouting

their dormancy. The night before surgery,
I lay on the plush hotel bed, staring
at a room service form. When I was

little, I was obsessed with opulence.
I wanted filet mignon, lobster
delivered to my imagined penthouse

as I watched cartoons: a toddler bobbing
along the steel girders of a nascent
skyscraper, pianos crashing down, turning teeth

into sonatas. Sometimes you have
to confront the world’s malice like a mouse
who’s been burned too many times by spring-

loaded-cheese. I remember assuming
the hospital’s food would be suspect.
Juice with plastic peel-off top, overly-

salted soup, but, I thought: that’s only
if they don’t slice into my temporal
lobe. If they don’t accidentally

give me a lobotomy, or cut my
head clean off. I’ll be lucky to gag
on pot pie while mom scrolls WebMD.