in the hospital


in the hospital you hear
the banal and the profound,
clerks talking about soda,
patients talking about the end:
“I was waiting on God today
but he haven’t surprised me.”
The cheerful old woman in 518
says “I feel fine but I just
don’t have any white cells.”
The orderlies, the chair pushers
who commute between the street
and the kingdom of doctors
have a courtier’s language:
“Have a blessed day!” “How you?”
“Blessed. Have a guh’un.”
Someone I can’t see says
“I can’t put that E-quipo-ment
away, less you want me to.”
I enter an ICU room and
I say the Lord’s Prayer
for a man intubated, stuck
full of IVs, monitors on
his chest, legs, ears,
he is a purple color.
His lips move with mine.

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