Wearing a heart monitor and reading Alan Berecka
by Michelle Hartman

An over-worked nurse checks monitor leads
and promises sleeping pill right after
she does something evil to a poor soul
down the hall. After several thrill-packed hours
in the ER, at one AM I'm
finally admitted. Next to the ice machine,
across from medication room,
I’m in the hospital equivalent of hot sheet motel.
I dig through hastily packed overnight bag
for literary saving grace. Soon I’m deep
in The Comic Flaw, the titular irony not escaping me.
I am transported to New York where small boy
deals humor to a set of dysfunctional parents.
Confusing Polish anarchy and whimsy
result in bus trip, a Pilgrim’s Progress
through Dantesque circles. And I start to laugh,
exhaustion and pain whipped with frustration
and a soupcon of morphine heated until it bubbles
and roils into hysteria soufflé with tasteful garnish
of tears. From somewhere distant alarms,
nurses and orderlies laden with Spanish Inquisition
torture devises converge on my door.
Heart monitor wirelessly linked to computer array
safeguarded in asylum bowels
watched by tech jockey texting his comic book order
has misread my overwrought glee as death throes.
An unappreciative sycophant places books
well out of reach, last nurse out watches me swallow
pretty colored pills and extinguishes the lights.
As I drift away the hall noises are replaced
with riotous calls of children’s voices
baseball cards slapping and accordion polkas.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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