Under Fluorescent Lighting
It’s getting a call at 2 AM that I remember.
A parking valet looking at my stick-shift like it’s
red-shined windbreaker swishing past me.
He’ll stall when I pass through sliding doors.
I remember a nurse’s perfect white sneakers,
squeaky soles on too-clean floors.
Her pink scrubs glow
under fluorescent lights,
a noxious pattern of hippos playing
Monet washes the walls with fake smiles,
that’s what I remember at least.
I place sticky hands on a counter
I remember I ask for directions to Room 819.
Sick sweat and disinfectant. Two smells that seize
your throat by the uvula and stick there.
I remember swallowing repeatedly
as I follow
little giraffes and purple elephants
that fail to hide the stench of death
of baby sickness
of children giving up
She calls me Mommy accidentally when she sees me by the door
The hospital guest chairs look worse than my own
chapped lips. Cracked with leaking fuzz.
My dry legs stick to the plastic.
The hippos bring me coffee.
The nurse brings me coffee.
Everyone knows things taste better
at 2 AM. I remember.
My pelvis aches as I sit in the chair,
holding her IV-anchored hand. I forgot my meds
in my rush out the door.
There’s a bubble of skin by the needle
of her anchor.
She watches cartoons about magical faeries,
not thinking that Mommy
aren’t coming, too occupied with work and
their Life. I think for her.
We sit alone and wait for soft warmth
to slink through the window towards us.