Checked Out Before I Arrived

Flat Out
Unlike many
Your hospital's maze
Was pretty easy
To figure out.
Your address
Room 452 Bed 1
As if I would have had difficulty
Recognizing you

My first reaction
As you lay there
Was disappointment
That you were asleep
But immediately
I was grateful
This is the best of times
No pain
Sleep is kind

You lay flat and straight
Not moving
Not quite like the dead
To see you unmoving
Just breathing
A red 45 at your feet
Indicating your heart rate
A nurse commented
Anesthesia slows things down
Reminding me of a five year dream
Of a tube being extracted from my mouth
That seemed to go on forever

I left the flowers
In the champagne bucket
The gold Godiva chocolates
With green ribbon
Beside the bed
Making sure they would not interfere
In your arm's reach and struggle
A little like an altar
To a goddess
Or sleeping princess in a fairy tale

I did not kiss you
There was too much equipment in the way
And I did not want to wake you
To pain
So I let you sleep your drugged sleep
And drove in dark rush hour traffic home

December 4, 2002