“Transplant” By Tony Gloeggler



Everyone tells me
I’m a lucky man,
blessed and fortunate
to have four willing donors.
And I know they’re right,
people wither away 
waiting for kidneys 
on endless lists
with no guarantees. 
I’ve talked to doctors, 
did extensive research 
and came away convinced
it’s a highly successful 
procedure. Everyone’s 
encouraging, assuring me
it’s not nearly as bad 
as last year’s open heart 
surgery and my two friends 
with transplants are both 
alive and living normal lives.  
Yes, I am so sick of dialysis 
treatments, three times 
a week for three and a half 
hours a day with its sudden 
blood pressure drops 
and crippling cramps
that leave me hobbling
around like a slow motion
half dazed zombie who only
wants to sleep my life away
that I’d do almost anything.

My youngest brother proved 
a perfect match. We’re looking 
at July when his work slows down
and his wife’s school breaks 
for summer so she can watch 
their kids while he recovers. 
There’s no way to thank him 
and yes, I can hardly wait. 
Except my mind keeps 
filling up with thoughts 
of  something going wrong, 
something bad happening 
to him during the operation, 
and then who will tell me 
what to say to his wife, 
to his kids, Daniel and Lexie.


About Tony Gloeggler: I am a life-long resident of New York City and have managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. My work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Rattle, The Examined Life Journal, Raleigh Review, New Ohio Review, Stirring and The NY Times. My full length books include One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015) which focused on my job and the autistic son of a former girlfriend. My next book, What Kind Of Man, will be published by NYQ Books in 2019.


More By Tony Gloeggler


“Visitor’s Day at the Group Home”

“In the Building”


Image Credit: Henry Gray “The Relation of the Kidneys from Behind” (1918) Public Domain

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