Louis, with his pain, is one long night, with his pain that whines like a siren on TV. 1-Adam-12, possible 2-11 in progress… He’s shat himself three times, and I can’t stop puking. Jerry, the orderly, is pissed. What the hell, Louis! There’s shit everywhere. You have any idea

Louis has no ideas. Louis is circling the airport. They wheeled Louis up just after me — a nurse in green scrubs, an aid in blue at the tail end of a bad joke about a patient who had waffles for breakfast, bulimia for lunch.

Tonight’s guest star is Trini Lopez. Nurse? Nurse Eventually?

Whoever is at the other end of the dark hall comes, finally, with ice chips and Percocet for us both. Then Louis lolls like a rowboat on a heaving ocean while Officers Malloy and Reed deadpan through Van Nuys in a black-and-white ’72 Matador.

For me, the waves froth wide and deep.

About the author

Michael Steffen's fourth poetry collection, Blood Narrative, was recently published by Main Street Rag. New work has appeared in Chiron Review, The Comstock Review…

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Issue 24 · Autumn 2021

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