The Life Ward

October 31, 2018

Up on the fourth floor

there are carts stationed to wheel,

reel toward certain beds, bodies,

the sheet-stretched, prepared.


Up on the fourth floor,

skin, respiration, plasma

are all monitored valuables,

immeasurable as figures,

faces clot round, tissue-raw,

though not pulling away.


The fourth floor.  No desert.  No ghost town.

Come close.  Look.  Feel.


At 3 A.M. in bed 12, earphone buzzing,

is music-fixed Blanche.

Next to her, chair-propped,

is some teddy bear;

overhead, a red glow, on-call,

this quiet night light tattoos balloons of,

a few flowers, ‘til morning widens,

resumes pace:  bathing, bed pans.


Are you hungry?  Brush your teeth?

Up on the fourth floor:

medicine, breakfast, the heart

monitor’s jagged beep

pulses, pulses life.

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