blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2009  Vol. 9. No. 2






This Is The One Where I Was Asleep. I Had Been In The Hospital
For A Month So I Kind Of Look Worn Down. The Picture Does Not Do
My Room Justice. It Was All In Pink & Blue. I Had A French Telephone
Beside My Bed On The Radio That Doesn’t Show Up Here. Really It
Was Wonderful How The Hospital Rooms Are So Cheerful And So Much
Like A Hotel Room

Gelatin Silver Plate, c. 1930

This, dear Ida, was my first full night of sleep
Since arriving in Santa Fe. Maria the nurse,

Who I’ve grown quite fond of (though she speaks
Little English), has a Kodak of her own.
                                                               The flash
Didn’t wake me. I could have slumbered through Judgment Day.
The evening before—do not be alarmed, my dear—

I coughed two cups of blood into a basin
While Maria propped up my head.
                                                      But then the night terror

Vanished. The sunset turned the light a dusty saffron.
& let me tell you a curious dream: Dr. Weiss

Had wheeled me to a vaulted room. We both had lab coats on.
Under his microscope he lodged the slide. “This

Kingdom lies within,” he whispered—the good tissue muddy brown,
The bacilli a stunning blue
                                           & swift as minnows they swam.

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