An Anthology of Poetry and Medicine

At the Teaching Hospital

by Dan Kraines

On the hospital bed, the infected port already inserted
into your side—
the room had an austere light, the sun
reflecting off of metal, the bars of the waiting chairs, the I.V. pole,
tanks and contraptions; as if you were being kept alive by a florescent shine.
You could not get up, waiting for a nurse to take you from bed, with the pole,
as if wheeling you;
spinal cord compression, snow wind diagnosis,
the lost movement of your leg, unable to drain yourself
of fluid, corrupting your body, the port inside.
I left. I wish I had said, I love you and goodnight.
Did not know to say, somehow, in that moment.
You’ll be fine, you said—
That, in effect, was your goodbye.
The hallway glistened, the ticking quieted, I took out my paper slip
and unlocked my car.
Having parked in a large garage.
Having seen this place to which you belonged, until your death.
You were my teacher. What were your instructions? You have no marking
on earth.
Throughout that room, the ordinary, issued, mutable
way of saving. One last cutting open. 


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