Three Hospital Poems by Lin Lucas
Updated: Jan 6
i shuffle hospital socks to the front desk, ask
because my sleep-blurred eyes
cannot read the clock. it is midnight.
back to the room; but my body is tense
for flight. this shadow grips under
shoulder blades, claws into muscle.
i am facedown in cheap pillows, pressed
flat. try to relax. the doctor said today, try
yoga. so I stand, raise hands high
into the dark. reach. imagine
warmth somewhere on the other side
of this blackened world. somewhere,
light is melting each shadow.
i stretch my fingers up. can the sun
still see me? i wonder.
i start my period in the psych ward
congratulations. this body in its infinite
wisdom, had rejected the notion
of creation. there is nothing new
in me. it's strange, happiness
for a lack. this nonexistence, this
potential i could have carried,
this almost life. i would have given
myself to the bones. but what
do I give? at least she will not
inherit my mind. congratulations.
i whisper to the empty space
in my womb. my lower back
contracts in response. i curl up, fetal
on the hard bed. do I wish
i too had been a silent, solemn
celebration? a thankful prayer
to bloodstained panties? my mother
knew she was pregnant when tornadoes
spun destruction in her dreams, as though
her body defied the ruin, made me
to spite it. for her, at least, i was not
the nightmare, but the waking up.
this hospital is a landfill
to cup is to hold. but this cup,
punctured -- a careless thumb against
refill-weakened styrofoam --
holds nothing. is this even a cup?
it sits useless in a pool expanding
as the ice melts, crawling
to the table’s edge. i cannot slow
this undoing. even hands cupped
together hard, fingers pale, hold
nothing. everything seeps away.
but the empty styrofoam will last.
i wonder at the power of one
mistake to take the purpose
of a thing. i try to change
the metaphor, pray i am, instead,
the water: evaporated, transformed.
Lin Lucas is a bisexual, feminist writer whose work has been published in The Fem, Picaroon, Dirty Chai, and elsewhere. She lives with her two cats in Kansas City and spends her extra time crocheting and traveling.