Passing the Time on the Fifth Floor ICU

Normally I don’t like to post poems that I’m still working on. Normally I don’t like to post poems at all. But I think I’ll post one. It’s rough, I’m sure, a genuine first draft, but I want to share it, to throw it out there into space because it might make me feel better. So here it is.

Ode to the Hospital

I love to come to the hospital and sit in the cafe and drink the stale coffee
because, mother, sometimes living is stale
and dirty black, but there is nothing better than a hospital,
the sturdy gurneys, the men and women
in gowns left open in back
the way sometimes we leave the back door open
for the dog no one claims to own,
or the neighbor who would borrow a teaspoon of salt,
and where else but in a hospital
can you touch a living liver and piss in your bed, where else
can you open your chest like a chest of drawers
and root around as if for a clean pair of socks,
mother, you must love the hospital
even though the oxygen tube rubs your nose raw,
and your body is tapped like a barrel of wine,
even though blue wires and red wires and green wires
curl up on your chest like an open explosive,
even though it sickens me
why they had to shock more sense into your heart
and thump on your chest, and how you couldn’t remember the year
or your name and thought my wife was your long gone daughter
and how you haven’t slept
and this is no way to celebrate an anniversary,
you must find something to love
some way to believe
there is no better place than a hospital,
no better sound than the gentle breath of the ventilator
the cluck cluck of the heart monitor
like the sound your mother’s tongue would make
before you knew the word for thirst
though you know it now,
laid out like a trout on your bed in the ICU
your skin a fruity red with bruises
as if the nurse had given you strawberries for lunch,
buckets and buckets of strawberries
that covered you up to your elbows in sweetness.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


One thought on “Passing the Time on the Fifth Floor ICU

  1. Good day I was fortunate to discover your subject in wordpress
    your topic is splendid
    I get a lot in your blog really thanks very much
    btw the theme of you blog is really terrific
    where can find it

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