Weariness, I feel you coming on big legs,
mascara running, boar’s breath fogging
windows as you lean on my door.
Sleeplessness, I see you pulse
behind my eyes, electricity split
between body and mind. Restlessness,
I smell your sharpshooter bent among bluebells.
(What more should I say?)
It’s not all boo-hoo in the borough.
The night nurse at St. Josephs is my kind
Aunt Caroline, her feet a grievance
against midnight and too-tight shoes.
I hear the kidneys’ stand-ins, the understudies for lungs
upstaging the fluorescent hum.
Fact outranks allusion.
A syringe rests in an ashtray.
(Is there anything more true?)
The pinch in my spine rolls back
shoulders, a minor-chord breath.
Again my body’s a pipe organ.
The patients, morgue-real and ready,
suck the all the air from the room, their beds
right behind those curtains. I have seen balding heads,
bodies shaved down to the bone.