First night in the Intensive Care Unit after Heart Surgery at age 32

by Paul-Henri Campbell


First night in the Intensive Care Unit after Heart Surgery at age 32

It's not the first instance of insomnia, of course,
and however well our bodies have befriended scalpels
since our shovels etched lines into cloy sands at the Bay,

we lay here broken like a beached creature beneath
glaring lamps in a hazy cocoon of bleeping, tubes,
and voices (no whispering here) without reprieve.

Mothers, your sons have gone to battlefields 
unknown to your gardens. And as they look
upon you now, your flowers are all but names.

So please stop weeping. Instead, let your eyes 
mildly gaze across our bodies, for on the beach
the frothy surf has put our castles to ruin

and up where patches of dry sticky reed spring
upon the dunes, our shovels wait in red buckets
for the next low tide while the flood is rolling in.