On Dying in the Kings County ER
You slip from your wheelchair
to the floor, it's too dark outside
in the tiny windows, too late at
night, the sky all one dark pupil,
and the coffee machine
at the nurses' station is broken.
An orderly kicks your foot, perhaps
she hears a sigh from somewhere
else, thinks it's you, believes you
are still breathing.
Dead, the smudged linolemn
is cool along your cheek. You
don't mind it so much. The last six months,
the stroke made everything a pain
in the ass; your fingers refused
to unpeel from pencils,
the smirk in the garbageman's eye
made you throw books, and your children
kept switching their names.
Now you have no name. Your fingers
and toes get colder, a peculiar heaviness
fixes you to the floor but your muscles
no longer ache, your bowels no longer
sing their bombastic, unhappy tune.
Somewhere, a TV high on a wall
is playing "Cheers" and you finally
feel your skin brightening, lifting
to the tempo of the laugh track.
A man with a dark hat is touching
your chair, a nurse is knelt at your
wrist, but you are hot now, feeling
the sun as you did that day
at the beach in Coney Island:
a new bikini, a new strip of skin
burning at the top of your hips
but you were beautiful and you
knew it, wringing your wet hair
into some smiling boy's face, laughing
and shrieking as he grabbed your arm, and
it's that kind of burning now, that kind of
joy, as the room glows beneath you and
more people gather, and more attention
comes, all too late to tie you down.
I have a feeling this is going to be rewritten a LOT, but I haven't posted even a draft in forever.