At the sidewalk bistro crowded with pharmacists
_ _and x-ray technicians, the handicapped girls strum
_ __ _the spokes of their wheelchairs, singing do-why-didi-
-didi-dum-didi-do . . .
_ __ _A trio of musicians loosens the post-happy
_ _hour crowd with steel drums.
A highball glass sweats and grows heavy
_ _under the falling sun. The evening is a streetcar on fire,
a little Havana of the heart.
_ _The waitress, all hips and rosary beads, circulates
_ __ _with a pitcher of sangria and a razor blade. The pathologist
writes succulent in Spanish across a napkin
_ __ _and leaves a prescription of folded twenties.
_ _Ambulance lights ricochet
off the glassy storefronts, delivering
_ _the ill and injured to the disinfected. Nothing stays sterile
for long. In the waiting room,
_ _the priest’s wife kneels and receives
_ __ _a second heart attack. All prayers are placebos.
Each certified voice medicates
_ __ _and needles. A plea to the angel
_ _of angioplasty wilts in a glass vase. All the nurses
have a nervous habit over-sweetening
_ _their tea. They share a belief in exploratory
surgery. On Thursday nights, they clutch
_ _fists full of gauze and wheel the girls
_ __ _from the burn ward across the street, ready
for the wounds that will reopen and weep.