The Big City Hospital.

A young Iraqi doctor resuscitated me, sweat beating off his brow. He had pleaded for a scintilla of life to re-join my body, as the senior doctor retreated from my bed.

At fifteen, my spine was fractured. A balding Jewish surgeon-diminutive with sharp dimples-stood for eleven hours, tending me with blessings spoken in Hebrew.

A Greek Orthodox priest, eighty years of age, prayed over me. We preferred our tea black.

My heart and lungs were being crushed by my spinal curve, further down the road. A Celt stood for fifteen hours, alongside Italian theatre sisters, dreaming of la dolce vita in bergamot-scented villages. The English reminisced about decent central heating.

The blood transfusions were donated by Indians and Spaniards. Their essence became mine as I devoured their gift, drop by drop. My heart was massaged by the heated glow of a Canadian’s calloused hands. These hands had a month prior, climbed mountains in the country his family fled to when he was young.

In ICU, I was tended to by Irish wags and Dutch humourists.

A quiet Turkish surgeon, Chinese radiologist and Egyptian anaesthetist prepared me for surgery later on, with the tenderness of cotton wrapped around my battered bones.

Many hands were involved in my healing. Soft, rough, cocoa, pink, pale, limpid, gold. I have travelled the world, listened to her citizen’s table their stories. My life is no longer my own. Long ago, I handed over my brittle life to the citizens of the world, and they revived me.

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