Broken in Two

By | 1 November 2019

The entrance is lined, each time, with smokers
in absurd clusters, on beds in the sun.

The lift doors reveal, on each floor, huge orange numbers
and letters from 5A to 12C.

I think C is for Cancer.

My friend told me once that she heard a doctor tell a patient,
“You have cancer.”
Then he spelled it out.

That’s how I think of it now,
broken in two.

She didn’t want to move rooms. She said,
“I don’t want to go up where everyone’s dying.”

In the lift to 12C, scrawled next to a message from a church it said,
“Jesus Wants Your $$”

Next time I found her, most alive in the Emergency room,
breath stunk of blood.

Her nose bled whenever she sat,
or thought
or ate.

Across from her a woman yelled,
“Oh shit! I want to go home to Israel.”

She’s right. Everyone on 12 C is dying.
Across the room, one says nothing.
One can’t stop.
They hobble downstairs together
I see them smoking when I pass.

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