Friday Night at the ER
By Don Iannone
The hospital emergency room is filled
with long sick faces most nights.
It's Friday night, and
things are much worse than normal,
as a steady stream of e-squad vehicles
pull up and drop off sick and injured people.
You wonder how some people are still alive
after such horrible things happen to them.
A young girl is brought in
with the top of a pop bottle embedded
in her blood-drenched right eye.
Down the long corridor,
desperate unanswered cries echo
long after two men's bodies are hauled off
on cold black gurneys,
draped with stiff white sheets.
I listen in as a trembling elderly woman
with matted white hair
begs the trauma nurse to promise
someone will feed her cats,
who sit faithfully on the front window sill
until they are noticed and let into the house.
As I ready to leave,
a medical team rushes past me.
It's a major trauma patient...
a gunshot wound in the abdomen.
I partially turn away as the team wheels
a lifeless ashen-faced young Black boy
through the side entrance door.
His bright red blood is puddled
atop the piled sheets covering his thin frame.
As I walk limply to the car,
the cold January night air grabs me like death.