This poem won Second place in 2-Day Poem Contest 2014

Remember that you are one of many: versions of injury and disease in yellow-walled rooms

            before an open hall; a tag around each wrist


to indicate location and the putative point of entry; doors unlocked and urine underfoot.

            A man is describing the nightshift’s RN –


she has a purpose to her, a confidence, look at the way she goes; I asked and her

            parents stayed together and they loved her


like nothing else; you can see it in the way she takes blood pressure. His voice is a barge,

            it recalls radio announcers; he is


probably just another bloated alcoholic. He tells you here every room is a waiting room;

            the world is different when you’re this tired, it’s softer


and you see it differently; you hear all the patients’ eyes detached, collected,

            floating in a deep fishbowl.


You’re trussed together by a side cramp; the flu; infections with names like campylobacter

            jejuni – that one found its way from Madagascar


to Canada via an in-flight meal, took a flute of champagne during the stopover in Paris,

            insisted on a booster seat for the toddler it had in tow;


bones breaking. A woman asks for a heavy blanket across her legs. The resident’s cold hands

            are still on your belly.


Whatever could have made you special dissipates

            when your names align on the same thin paper like birds without nests.


A sonographer takes the elevator and crosses a matrix of wards as broad

            as a city square; shows you the outlines of cysts


like wolf tracks around your ovaries. They found them not through light but timbres.

            Who knew sound could do that.