The patients here are silent. Their machines
Speak for them, in rhythmic beeps and colored lines,
And numbers–lots of numbers. Which one means
He is getting better? Or worse? What are the signs
We should attend to? I choose to watch the heart
Monitor; for now, it is holding steady, if fast.
They’ve chilled his blood, in hopes his brain will start
To heal itself, but now two days have passed;
It’s time to warm him up. We hope for the best
And wait, and watch the numbers, and pace, and cry.
The doctor’s face confirms–we’ve failed this test.
There is no doubt; my brother soon will die.
We know, today, his heart will slow and stop,
And as we watch… the numbers start to drop.
This was intended (still is, I suppose) to be just one of a series of sonnets, observations from the hospital. The different populations within the hospital were fascinating to watch, even in such horrible circumstances as we were in. The families of patients, both new and long-term; the doctors and nurses–“heroic” does not come close; the new parents; the cops and paramedics bringing in the victims of accidents and shootings; the janitorial staff, who appear to have seen everything all too often; the clergy, impotence masquerading as importance.
But, perhaps understandably, these are not easy things to write. I’m not a poet; I’m a commenter in verse. It is the exception, rather than the rule, when I write about something that touches me personally. Hell, I could make the argument that the restriction of verse is just another way of distancing myself from a topic. It has to rhyme, after all
Anyway. I’m not happy with it, but here it is, for now. I plan to revisit (in verse, that is) this hospital, but I couldn’t begin to say when that will be.