Emergency Room: January 22, 2021

Sunday, March 6, 2022

His irritation hums as I push back the curtain in the emergency room

the air electric and tense.

He clutches a juicebox

(grape; he'd requested apple)

and tells us we have twenty questions

then get

the hell 



"How are you?"


He glares

shoves his sandwich in his mouth

along with some of his beard.


"How would you feel

eating your own fucking beard?"


We listen to his heart

check his ankles

let him be.



in the quiet of the afternoon

fluorescent light refracted through gauzy blue curtains-


"How are you?"


He tells me about his time on a boat

in the war.

He tells me what it is like to be


across the room, to lose


of your body in a seizure.

He tells me about his wife, divorced twenty years past-

he loves her still.


"Do you need anything else?"

I ask.


"I need a fucking cigarette."

he spits

but his eyes are softer.