FETAL POSITION IN THE ER
Broken but disbelieving, we wait
for any doctor to say it’s just blood
as the gray man greens, throws-
up in triage. A Goth teen holds Band-Aids
to her scalped thumb. Somebody loses
patience, explodes, Why are the sick
treated this way? Doors dilate & the sick
smell of antiseptics greets a waitress
wearing a steak knife. We are cribbed by loss;
gone, teeny heartbeats as I pass blood
clots. A junkie limps, unaided,
to the bathroom, another throw
away human, unlike a tot thrown
from a fire. Unforgettable, that sickening
sound, shrill scream after scream raids
the room of complaints. Hell won’t wait
for examination, I learn, as bloodshot
eyes meet mine. Hope is lost.
Patients stoically sit. Some lose
change to a vending machine. A cop throws
a look to his charge. Words drift, bloody
stool, x-rays, concussion. Sick talk to the sick.
My hand is gently squeezed. No one else waits-
out a miscarriage. I watch an aid
swab vintage tiles, restack HIV/AIDS
pamphlets as if they’re a deck of cards, like loss
is just some hand dealt. Somewhere, a mother waits
for her boy to sleep, will wash bottles, throw
out dirty diapers. Somewhere, a heartsick
father releases bloodcurdling
sobs because a body was found. Blood
is both bond & amputation. I took first aid
so I know why the sickest
get priority. Besides, we've already lost
each other, little one. Our separation has thrown
me off balance. Why couldn't you wait?
As if I need hearing aids, a nurse throws
my name out to the sick, the lost, ER roommates.
No. I'll never be ready. Let the bloody stirrups wait...
Copyright © Cyndi MacMillan | Year Posted 2017