My last Friday visit to the ward with chocolates for the nurses
two teas, a newspaper for her nap, and sterile hands
that smell of apricots and alcohol
as I scrub and enter this miraculous bus station
of broken bodies and machines.
My first week here I felt as naked as a patient’s undone gown,
unsure of what to do or how to help.
Six months along I knew ketosis in a kiss
and could bark, finish your lunch—your sugar sucks!
for fear a supper ambulance would be too late.
She loved her giant doctor who, away at conferences,
asks now what happened. I tell him how
she always said he looked so tearful
when he pull her tests, they were so bad.
I think he needs a hug, she’d whisper.
I ask about the others.
Normal Bob, his only flaw a bandaged
fistula hidden beneath sleeves creased to perfection.
Needle Boy, who drove the nurses crazy pulling tubing
from his veins until he bled out two machines.
I heard he did a week in Tower 10 before his code.
And Crazy Jane, whose pinstriped scooter
raced through bedpan alley on the clock,
dusting chairs and gurneys to be first
for Wheel-Trans in the lot. All gone now.
Here some get beepers, and some just time.
It’s raining when I leave, the sun’s quiescent glare
refracts to child-like colours—
red orange yellow green blue indigo violet—
I still believe.
Peter Taylor has published Trainer, The Masons, and Aphorisms. His poems have been published in Anansesem, Aperçus Quarterly, Call & Response, Contemporary Verse 2, Construction, The Copperfield Review, Descant, Eunoia, Fade, Frostwriting, The Glass Coin, Grain, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Linnet’s Wings, Nether, Petrichor Review, Phantom Kangaroo, Pirene’s Fountain, Poetry Australia, Pyrta, and StepAway Magazine. His experimental verse play, Antietam, won honourable mention in Winning Writer’s War Poetry Contest in Northampton, Massachusetts. He lives in Aurora, Canada. His Facebook page is PeterTaylorWord and his Twitter page is @PeterTaylorWord