Steel rods jut out from his legs.
We shove another pad underneath to soak up the blood.
The tube taped to his mouth makes his chest rise and fall.
A Good Samaritan from another state, helping a woman on the side of the road, now alone in a strange place, breathing through a machine.
Two rooms down is worse. The dr pulls the sensor slowly from a hole in a young man’s skull. No need to keep track of his pressure now, she says in not so many words.
“But he ran the red light?”
The nurses shake their heads up and down, silently rationalizing. This one didn’t follow the rules.
No one speaks of the Good Samaritan.
Wheelchairs pointed left right askew
like the balls on a pool table
after that loud
rolling into corners
losing speed anywhere on that huge expanse
Scattered across the dining room
one faced a wall
men and women
They allow smoking in these joints?
She lay crumpled in bed like an apple doll
crying for us to leave
crying for us to come back
Pictures of a younger woman with children at her sides
lining the windowsill
The scapula articulates with the humerus at the glenoid cavity,
but how does a hand feels when it’s dying?
Does a voice crying out with a new diagnosis
than the panicky cow who
learns his fate
at the top of the chute?
The science of worms and mushrooms
dust we return and
dust we begin.
Stomach, duodenum, jejunum, ileum.
Nervous, relieved, resentful, afraid.
My classroom is orderly
The hospital halls are well-lit.
Brimming with data,
I assume my role in the world’s darkest mystery.