POEM: Eventually, after the ICU

BY SALLY ANN MURRAY

he comes to, complains of black eggs breeding in his gut that filthy shit the sheets.
Damns the catheter, which is tubing macaroni into him long after the pot
is feeling bottled. He is so sick of these foreign bodies bursting his bladder.

“You mark my words,” his voice sidles, “these nursing ones are sly sisters.
They thieve a man’s life!” He says they steal his milk like dry old cows, fingers
rubbing. “You wretched women, watch out!” he shouts, grabbing the matron’s closest

arm other hand cupping his crotch beneath the sheet. “I’m all here. Here’s my tackle.
I’m not past it! I’ve still got all my kit.” At that, they push us out politely
in order to push him down. The last I see of him is the curved end

of the bed and ten featherless baby birds with horn-nailed beaks.