Admit one

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




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