Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Reflecting on being in a hospital

HOSPITAL:  The First Few Days and Nights in April 2015
 [lilies thanks to Martha Hubert]

A male nurse pushed a hospital cart;
it squeaked and chattered.
The intravenous drip beside me
was a quickly beating clock.
Someone’s insistent cough,
without words, was talk.
Around the place of healing,
just beyond comprehension,
muffled voices, a laugh.

You become a sentinel
in the restful night
you are not having;
no peace in hospital.
What does a night guard do?
He stands and thinks.
He is the prisoner of thinking.
Or maybe he’s the patient
observing himself because
he senses that a patient
craves attention – or distraction.
Although he is captive
and flattened in a bed,
he watches over all
while his eyelids fall.

Purple danger
palpa-patating heart

beep beep beep


pita-tapup eats me up
chew my heart
fang     ice      night
I slip under
cold waters
seals eye me
death eats my toes

blue wedding
of my soul, from the red
walls of my mama’s womb
to this cold good-bye

Then the nurse Corazon
comes and wakes me before dawn
and wipes my body clean
and gives me fresh blue pajamas
that I don for this April Fool’s Day,

It may be torture when they work
a hose through my nose down
to my stomach, but nothing like
those being force-fed on Guantanamo.
Liquid pumped in, then slowly
pumped out.  You know to say,
“If it must be done, it must be done.”

You are applique, sewn to your bed
with needles and hoses
by nurses and doctors and students
who come with questions
and testings.  You are the center
of attention, a zero, the empty
center, a depression on the bed.

No one knows how to turn off
the bed built to massage, little hills,
like trapped animals, moving
around inside the mattress.
You feel seasick,
caught in the bed’s backwash
beside the whirling stream
of sweet helpers with magical names,
from the Ukraine, the Phillipines,
and Spanish-speaking countries,
places with magical names.

The last morning, mi Corazon
drapes a chair with a white sheet,
and directs me to sit there
by the black window,
and the cold black block of night,
when I’m not looking, finally yields
to the wide generous hand of light.
The sun slides down to caress
the houses of the avenues
that lead to the ocean.

Purple light comes,
then white waves, made crisp
by the angle of morning light.
The expert sun delineates the parts
of the day.  The cones
on the pines outside the window
are enameled gold.

I am allowed to eat breakfast.
The intravenous needles and tubes
are hanging loose, disconnected,
and soon I may go home,
my body hair stripped away
by myself from many adhesive
strips and buttons, as the many sweet
helpers, loathe to do so,
make me inflict my own pain.