Discussion in 'Poet's Corner' started by BelovedDreamer, Aug 27, 2007.

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  1. BelovedDreamer

    BelovedDreamer Well-Known Member

    I hate them.
    They smell like disinfectant.
    Like illness and—
    in other places I forget they have a smell
    —like fear and grief
    and desolation.
    Like loss.
    Like waiting.
    Like desperation.
    I move through air-conditioned hallways
    full of trepidation
    the taste of helplessness
    coating my throat.
    A woman in a room
    clears her throat as I pass
    clears it again
    and again.
    Even the sound seems helpless
    It frightens me.
    I don’t want to stare
    don’t want to avert my eyes.
    I move faster.
    My health feels out of place,
    my body an intruder,
    then, surrounded by bodies failing,
    that health and life feels suddenly tenuous,
    I scrub my hands, and then repeat the process.
    Can’t catch cancer,
    can’t seem to feel clean,
    can’t scrub off my guilt.
    I’m healthy, alive,
    and have shown myself to be
    willfully incautious with my life,
    even to a point which
    standing in Sloan-Kettering
    I refuse to let my mind touch on,
    the memory is unworthy—and
    I secretly fear to be punished
    to see someone I love punished
    for what now, especially here,
    seems a selfish abomination.
    But this is not about me
    and rolling about miserably in pointless guilt
    doesn’t do shit good for anyone.
    Stopping outside the room
    I’m afraid to admit
    that I’m afraid.
    I linger outside the door
    ostensibly waiting for my father to catch up
    but in reality
    just unable to make myself enter alone.
    Walking in
    my mind can’t quite comprehend the change.
    Without meaning to think it
    I can’t help the instant sameness my mind remarks upon
    she looks so like him,
    in illness, she looks so like her father.
    My grandfather’s aged face shocks me
    here in a hospital room two years past his passing,
    sitting on his daughter’s shoulders.
    It hurts to breathe
    and I can’t for the life of me
    see her face underneath.
    This seems so wrong.
    This whole place
    this situation,
    wrong, just wrong.
    This hospital, this disease,
    robbing people of their dignity
    charging them for the pleasure.
    I have this horrible, inappropriate urge to scream
    but the sign tells me to be quiet.
    I want to help,
    hopelessly inadequate,
    I can’t heal her
    can’t even make a dent in the mad course her body is on.
    She doesn’t really recognize me today
    pressure on the brain and morphine leaving her
    nauseous and disoriented.
    I’m not even sure how to offer comfort.
    This is wrong,
    this is impossible,
    forces of nature don’t get cancer,
    but I see it, I’m watching this.
    The force of nature wobbles to the bathroom
    a hospital robe flapping open behind her,
    she looks so breakable, but she’s still so stubborn.
    I ponder, uneasily, feeling guilty for this too,
    trying not too look to closely at my thoughts,
    she’s so strong but so fragile,
    I try not to wonder what happens
    when an unstoppable force
    meets an immovable object.
    I want to believe in miracles
    wish I could believe this didn’t need a miracle,
    wish I was raised with a religion
    so I’d have someone to yell at,
    wish a lot of things.
    I’m sure she does too.
    Sure everyone here does.
    I’m sure everyone
    the people in the beds
    the people sitting next to the beds
    even the doctors and nurses
    rushing around so officiously trying not to look too close
    everyone in this building
    is full
    to a point beyond language
    with wishes
    and mute requests.
    The air is bursting with them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2007
  2. Blackness

    Blackness Guest

    very good

    and you described the hospitals superbly :)
  3. theleastofthese

    theleastofthese SF Friend Staff Alumni

    I love the whole thing - wistful and frustrated tho it be - but especially the last six lines. YOu sure know how to write an explosive ending!:eek:hmy:
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