Midnight in the ER

by David Stankiewicz

Doctors were plotting their
bold interventions
as if the look on my face
could be found in their manuals

My lungs told them nothing,
blood refused to perform

Drawn forth in fear and trembling —
hands clasped before me,
sweat crowning my brow —
the living water from my spine
was a pure revelation,
esoteric witness
to an undefiled source

But the technicians of doom
weren’t concerned with such
holiness as they huddled
intoning my agnostic data

I was lashed to a mast in a cyclone
machine, something charted
my brain        my mind
left to its own
unscientific devices

Mortality punched its clock
in the fluorescent netherworld.

The drunks and the homeless
disappeared before dawn.

At last a stranger came in:
there was no term for
my condition no reasons at all
they could name.

A carnal day was breaking.
I was free to go, free
to live or die.