Derek Richards

emergencies of a tribe


drunken voices crumble
stumble as static
beg for Ativan, sympathy and a free bed.
this is a nightly tribe,
the emergency room nation.
anything to be fixed.
elbow cuts, knee scrapes, catholic tears and black eyes.
the hallucinations smell like nicotine,
vibrations of us bounce room to room, hey nurse?

i bend my head down, catch the hum,
the low audio of desperation, waiting silently for a pill.
chew on the opinions of pain,
the hollow promise of an exhausted doctor.
this tribe does not recognize it's own dead,
the clocks are too slow.

then the doctor appears in the doorway,
she stares right through me, around me, examines her wrist-watch.
blinds me with a penlight and soft perfume,
grips my pulse with a yawn.
i decide to wait until she leaves before dying sad and sterile
as drunken voices crumble
stumble as static
each of these rooms rot with heavy sighs, failed vibrations,
the doctor exits, never noticing 
the closing of my eyes, the aging of my breath.

—Derek Richards

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