and my spirit was leading my body around
like an old dog
on a long leash.
Nurses are funny creatures, kissing the glass
of the locked cabinet as if it held a month in the country
where fountains flow patients
to the bathroom by themselves.
As a child, I lay in the snow sideways to the sky
and believed I would always have a place to go,
full of tomato soup
and rag rugs for the floors.
That day, though, I was just out of the hospital
and been beaten up besides, for the fun of it
by someone younger
with healthy fists.
Bent like a damaged tree with red leaves,
I fell into a cab and got the stink eye from
a driver concerned
about his upholstery.
At the hotel, in my sixth floor room, I kissed
the mirror above the sink. It was cold and smooth
with always that little
gap denying contact.
With my prescription lost, real pain embraced me,
saying, write about the red of the blood and the white
of the weather,
the gray of cement and concussion.
I wrote the red of a fire welcomed by wood, a white bird
on a black branch outside the window from a warm bed
and a day that ended
years ago where I mended, more or less,
I still have that poem, a good one, full of the best of me,
a beautiful thing
still whole and fine
and standing on its own
when all the rest has gone.
for Desperate Beauty at Desperate Poets.