St Clare’s


i lie in my hospital bed
belly bloated like a frog 
in a dissection dish

the pain rivals
            maybe exceeds
kidney stone levels

over the mound of my belly
i see my father sitting quietly

diagnosed with diverticulitis
i haven’t moved from this bed in days
they feed me thru my veins
they call it n p o

suddenly i’m compelled
to jump up and stumble to the
antiseptic bathroom that’s spitting distance
from the         footofthebed

i burst coagulated ocher liquid
i hear my father’s voice 
are you all right?

greatly relieved 
i sigh

his smile chuckles 
thru the bathroom door


john ceravalo is lying in his bed

friends huddle in the corner
exhorting him to hang on

i step over the uneaten food tray
and enter the room

i haven’t seen john in five years
he was lean then

now he’s pallid and gaunt
ravaged by AIDS

he manages a meager smile

i bend over and look into his glassy eyes
i say i’m sorry to see you this way

i share how much he means to me

his open heart and soft decency
his astute ear and tuned dexterity

how his piano exercises 
relaxed my hands 

i touch his chest
his smile 

he tells me 
he is in

i rub his chest
he says his legs 
are on fire

i say 
it’s ok
to let go

i walk down the long corridor 

on the sparse street 
i am bathed by
a squinting sun

One thought on “St Clare’s”

  1. As I read this at 3.39 am in bed last three days fell off my bike wound up in emergency now home. Body very sore and broken collarbone. I am relating to your poem.


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