It’s late afternoon
The baby is unwell
She’s taking her to the doctor
No need to worry.
We’re at the hospital, she says
They think she has pneumonia
Waiting for blood tests
I’ll ring you back.
Is someone with you she asks
It’s the question my father asks
when the news is bad.
I steel myself.
She has leukaemia.
I keep searching for something that will bring meaning
Maybe I’ve missed it.
I’m trapped in the space between.
Time pulses by
I see the city below through slatted a venetian
Blinded to the hour
Darkening each day
To see your swollen pale face look back at me and light the black
Each day I take the lift up to
I enter her sealed sanitised world
through the air lock doors that heave and breathe like slumbering sentinels.
One evening I leave late.
I take the lift down. Alone.
I am empty.
The doors of the lift slide open.
Ethereal voices of a choir fill the cavernous void
enveloping me in a blanket of humanity that seeps deep inside me and slowly thaws my frozen blood.
The day begins as it ends
Darkness and shadow
She seeks comfort at her mother’s breast
The translucent glow of her skin pale against the white sheets. She is
Too weak to cry
Too exhausted to push unwanted hands away.
Retching and wretched.
Her tiny hand seeking the dark mole on her mother’s hip that tells her she is safe
I want to feel the fury
Rage and scream
at the injustice
I used to be angry and now I’m just sad.
Translucent walls heave and sway each time the door opens and a body brushes past
She sleeps peacefully in her bed
She is accustomed to the constant sounds and sighs around her
I worry that the cries of the child in the next bed will wake her but the sound of the mother trying to weep silently on the either side of the curtain is both sad and
Our only shield from grief
We are not alone in our pain
A rustle amplifies in the still.
Yellow gowns with masked faces gather round the bed side.
Purple hands glove human touch.
The world has stopped turning.
My bed is soft and crunchy
It is my retreat.
Toast and rice bubbles
A trail of insatiable hunger.
Comfort in crumbs.
The young boy holds a crutch under each arm
He swings them wildly
I wonder how he can possibly remain upright
A bicycle swerves madly toward
The boy stands his ground
Swipes at the rider who laughs victoriously as he just holds his balance despite the bandage on the thigh of one leg and the heavy plaster on the other
Their mother looks on and takes aim at both
I’m fuckin sick of this
I’m not fuckin
bringin you back here if ya fall off agen!