Poem Hunter
White Roses

White Roses

Poem By Louise Marie DelSanto

There is a fire inside
this man's body.
I hand him the pill cup
with his medication, his
name and room number
scribbled in magic marker.

I see the ravages
of his disease, two bony arms
reaching out, a body shifting
restless, confirming two words written
on a manila kardex in a notebook
His legs move back and forth
under disheveled covers,
the picc line in his chest
hooked up to his food line,
an appetite stimulant in a glass
bottle, and
an injection to build his blood

On his bedside table, the
flash of Heath bars, and
two upright urinals, a withered
bouquet of white roses by
the door.

The numbers of his blood
tell a story. Each time he
moves, his eyes widen and
search for yours,
'You can dry those roses
now that they are withered, '
I tell him, trying to make
small talk.

I ask him to rise from the
bed so I may listen to
his lungs.
Deep breath, I tell him,
a trip down a long, deep
corridor where the wind
whistles sharply, a short
cough and we are in a shaft
where the tunneling goes
up, up, up and the distant echo
is only my own voice.

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