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One of my Hospital Sequence, written while an in-patient in Sligo Hospital in 2019.

Auditory Canals

Mamo__a__story_of_geraldine_plunkett_dillon_by_isolde_obrolchain_carmodyby Isolde ÓBrolcháin Carmody02 May 2019

These corridors are conduits;
Ancient speaking tubes
Riddling the building,
Bringing sudden voices from afar.

The man with the epic respiratory ailment
Flowering at dusk
Into explosive sneezes
And earthquake coughs.

The constant cricket-chirrup
Of unanswered call-bells;
Pecking at the attention
Of the three all-night nurses.

Two contrasting trundles -
One ominous, one tantalising -
The low rumble of the drug-cart,
With its syncopated key-lock interludes;

And the sleigh-jingle of the tea-trolley
Bringing shufflers running
From bathrooms and scans
Eager to cross its transient path.

A mysterious nightly crooning,
(An impossible animal? An abandoned child?)
That resolved itself, this afternoon,
Into a screamer.

A mind misplaced
Mistrustful of the strange hands
Seeking to soothe the bodily pains
To which that mind finds itself bound

And the man, this morning,
Who needed my actual bed
To cradle his broken hip

I heard his moans
As he was handled
Into an insufficient bed.

The cries chase me, chastising me,
In my grandmother’s voice
When she no longer had full consciousness
But had a life-time’s debt of pain
To repay.

Those kindly nurses,
“We need to turn her now.”
A pause as I failed to understand.
“You might not want to be here for this.”
Still unknowing, I didn’t go far enough away.

I heard her scream in pain
As gentle hands gently moved her.

It was the last time
I heard her voice

Today’s screamers seem quieted now;
I dearly hope their pain is sleeping