Sunday in CinCity. The Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself Edition.

Sometimes the Air Surrounding Me Is Sudden with Flowers

by Ander Monson

In the busy machine of the emergency room,
I talk with a man whose face is barely face,
is mostly laceration—accident-remnant
while driving his sister's car
that he stole while drunk and drove and totaled.

He's glad he didn't kill someone, he says.

We are surrounded by: black eyes,
blood blisters, broken legs,
bruises in the shapes of circus animals,
a variety of burns.

Eight people
have something protruding from their feet—
fish hook, glass slab, syringe, syringe,
staples (22—!), bolt, real big nail, syringe.

At least there are no knives in eyes
or gunshot wounds as far as I can see.

We watch E.R. on the television above us.

They are always resuscitating someone.

The crowd cheers when this happens.

A man with a fissure in his arm
all the way down to the bone
sits next to me. This patient
is far more patient than I'd imagine,
considering the bleeding. I ask him if it hurts
and he says sure, what doesn't.

Someone says that Noah Wyle is a fine piece of ass.
I can't help but agree. This is what you do in civilization,
I have been told.

It is a week after the Fourth, and I fear that some kid
will stumble in with a stump of a thumb.
He will have deserved it, but still it's sad.
So much for that career in jazz.

I wait with my slow chest pains (I've read online
it's likely heartburn, so there is hopefully no hurry)
for my turn. It might never come,
since the injuries keep filing in.

It's as if I've never seen
the world in which I live before.

More serendipity...Newspaper article on the front page of the paper today.
Cycling accident tests couple's resolve


  1. Absolute truth...a very vivid picture created with words.

  2. The emergency rooms of hospitals the world over must be terrifying and shocking and fascinating places to the unitiated, to those who've never sought to look into the inner lives of hospitals and medical schools, the amphitheatres of dissections, the laboratory shelves with bottles of anatomical wonders stored in formaldehyde, the flowing blood of operating rooms, the stomach tubes of appendectomy patients spouting green bile, the awful stainless steel of autopsy tables, and the things that happen there... Few want to know the gory details, corpses are quickly covered and buried or burned.

    Best that the air should suddenly be sudden with purifying flowers.

    Each time I come here I sense an epiphany seeking to rise up into the crystal blue stratosphere, a soul who has seen much and seeks to cast off some of the weight of things seen by sending them high into the heavens tied to the strings of colorful balloons.

    I could be wrong. But it seems to me that way...

  3. This poem could almost pass for "Show and Tell" or "Take Your Daughter To Work Day." Nice.

  4. I love serendipity (or random chance). Both seem to work so well. I've just been reading Marc Chagall's My Life and yesterday received a long, frustrated email from a young friend who is an emergency room nurse. And now your post. Thank you.

  5. Oh yes, I'd rather my air be "sudden with flowers."

  6. Wonderful combination of poem and image. And, wow, that article...I read the whole thing and kept thinking, Gabby Giffords' husband should see this. Quite remarkable. Thanks for sharing.


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