In this wing, on this floor, in this room ("my" room)
I assume she must be a woman,
though I'm not sure and
She is wound and stitched like a baseball.
She has soared, and fallen,
rolled and stopped.
She is Icarus, that precious dumb-ass, with hawk-heart and glider balsa.
Put this on her (his?) chart:
I love her. All of my poems, scratched out left-handed through a
fog of medications, are fragments of the cosmos,
stanzas of burst confetti stars,
how I do go on.
All night, she alternates between coma and suffocation,
drawing moth-nurses at 3 a.m. to the light that is her.
They coo, stick, shock and revive her,
and though stumbling residents up to their eyeballs in vending machine coffee hold the paddles,
it is the nurses who coax her back like sirens on some rocky shore.
She is Ulysses. She is Gina Lollobrigida, Madonna and Sylvia Plath.
How can I sleep in such a crowded room, which expands like a heart
with her every dream, her every sigh?
Dawn comes, and the murder of dark birds that is her family arrives.
They cock their heads and strut along the top of the divider.
"Are you going to finish that?
The July issue of Redbook?
If I could handle weaponry right now I would scatter them,
but a pen is all I have--
that, and the raw, almost painful devotion I have come to have for her.
Doctors and friends shake their heads.
"You have to want to get well."
Oh mercy, look at me.
If she lay her beautiful bandaged head on my breast,
I would grit my teeth and not scream;
I would pet her and whisper to her like a velvet bell in the House of the Holy Concubines
and then I would pass out, from joy and pain.
They want to transfer me to another floor, to a place
where I can get the type of care a woman like me needs.
They talk to me as if I were crouched on a ledge, twenty floors above the parking lot and threatening to jump,
but I am simply in love. Is that so hard to understand?
(End note, written during a break by Cheryl Durban, R.N.)
Patient transferred to psych this morning, but left behind these notebooks full of uncommonly beautiful poems. The roommate's name was on the first page, but roommate is PVS and family says the books aren't hers and to throw them away. Alert janitorial; I can't be the one to do it.)