Home > Poetry > Sky for Stained Bandages
Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
Sky for Stained Bandages

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.

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