The person inside struggles to get out
Eyes open … head shakes in terror … non-recognition … fear …
And my heart drops to my toes … this is not my friend
The next day …. I see her in those same eyes, my friend has returned
The intensity of the ICU waiting place…
The question lingers for me, Where has the she been in this time of unconsciousness? … while body fights for breath, tracheal tube blocks words from lips … but, this last evening, she responds with slight smile, the eyes are hers … lips shape words that cannot yet be voiced.
Intensive care—a reason for the name. Three other heavily monitored people share this sacred space … under heavy equipment security … machines record and alarm. The machined man diagonally across … at one point … seven staff members rush into his cubicle … curtains close to keep us out … and yet in the crack I see … syringes inject another fight for life. And the next day another body occupies the bed.
And sometimes I want to ask the nurses not just to look at the machines, but to look into my friends’s eyes … to know the person inside …. the beautiful person she is … and I cannot ask them that, as they are busy saving lives … but I myself can do that, I can look into her blue eyes and express caring.
… jazz vespers at church next to the heart hospital … as the melody begins … the minister speaks of the music’s power that transcends the cares and speaks to the soul … and it does.
And back to hospital room, back to hotel … and we discuss on patio in beautiful evening, in beautiful city, under full moon the heavies of life … over white wine … and we contemplate the recognition of who is the person … and how we have been challenged with the homeless people, the nameless faceless people, the hospital bed people, the walking on the street people… and a mouse sneaks along the edge of the patio … we are startled … no screams, but we do move back one table… and then someone else asks us “Do we have change so he can buy something at McDonald’s?” And we cannot walk by him, he has entered our space … I ask him his name, he is Keith … we ask if he has a place to stay, as my friend is looking for change … and gives him a bill … he assures us he will not buy wine … and she hands him the bill … he leaves and we look at each other and marvel at the day … so many people on this planet … our desire to be known … our desire to be cared for … our gratitude in life … being one of many walking the face of this city, this planet … from long hospital corridors, to musicians on the street, to biking the city, to our friend … the intricacies, delights and beauty of the day.
Wow, was all we could say … and God is good.
Our Daily Becoming
Like animals moving daily through the same open field, it should be easier to distinguish light from dark, fabrications from memory, rain on a sliver of grass from dew appearing overnight. In these moments of desperation, a sentence serves as a halo, the moon hidden so the stars eclipse our daily becoming. You think it should be easier to define one’s path, but with the clouds gathering around our feet, there’s no sense in retracing where we’ve been or where your tired body will carry you. Eventually the birds become confused and inevitable. Even our infinite knowledge of the forecast might make us more vulnerable than we would be in drawn-out ignorance. To the sun all weeds eventually rise up.
Poem from Poem-a-Day/ Poets.org by Adam Clay