Dream Song 67: I don’t operate often. When I do

I don’t operate often. When I do,
persons take note.
Nurses look amazed. They pale.
The patient is brought back to life, or so.
The reason I don’t do this more (I quote)
is: I have a living to fail—

because of my wife & son—to keep from earning.
—Mr Bones, I sees that.
They for these operations thanks you, what?
not pays you. —Right.
You have seldom been so understanding.
Now there is further a difficulty with the light:

I am obliged to perform in complete darkness
operations of great delicacy
on my self.
—Mr Bones, you terrifies me.
No wonder they didn’t pay you. Will you die?
—My
friend, I succeeded. Later.

Analysis, meaning and summary of John Berryman's poem Dream Song 67: I don’t operate often. When I do

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