Thursday, June 27, 2019

Hospital Birds

The cold suck of the tubes and wires.
Clear bags of glycerin, ice water,
thawed and refrozen and thawed.
Every morning a hummingbird hovers
outside my window, looking to insert its beak
into my arm. Every evening a robin
perches on the top branch of the larch
and sings my diagnosis, though I can't hear it.
My skin bristles with pins.
A grid of tiny knots I keep picking at
An itch in my testicles. The skin grows
over the stitches. A hawk hangs suspended
over the parking lot. The mouth of the wound
is jagged and hungry and will not shut.
They stuff it with gauze and honey
and send me packing. Once home
I sit on the edge of the tub and
the moment I unwrap the bandages
a swarm of flies appears and covers
the oozing chasm, tickling my skin
with their hairy legs, their lapping tongues,
their shivering wings. They lift me up
and carry me back
where the technicians strap me down,
reconnect the tubes and wires.
Rehang the transparent sacks.
The beeping recommences. My skin
bristles with pins. They smear goo across my chest
so they can see through my skin.
We watch my heart, valves flapping
like tiny wings. Nothing sticking to them.
Down the hall an alarm sounds.
An old woman whimpers.
If I turned my head I would be able to see
perched on the top branch of the larch outside the window
a single junco, buffeted by the wind

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