I have never been to a general hospital
alone before: sitting on one of the plastic benches
shoulder to shoulder with faces stuck on the Now
Serving sign above all four counters I can see
it is I am a no big deal I am. Just another walk-in.
I watch scrubs, robes, benches and stethoscopes
come and go as tickets wither to the rhythm
of digital numbers. I look—at the stub on my hand
count heartbeats under my tongue until I reach the printed
value: a game, coping with government services.
I walk to a counter my turn to answer; the rhythm
to a form with an HBW fill out my patient card
like I would a test eighteen? yes down the hall to my left
fix my eyes on signs overhead, dodge crutches, wheelchairs
tuberculosis, Uratex queues, and airborne benches.
I stand just outside the door, the same blank card
blank mouth of every other ward no. nurse to patient
a fetch, outside no bench assisted to exist
the anxious no queue to slip away from
as if hungry in urgency or noticing the time.
I knock twice, steady? st: steadier a fist a patient
a breathe released on the count of three
digital stubs or heartbeats walking
stretching seconds into tickets
as the knob turns turns turns