The Nameplate by Rowena Taylor

The hospice smells too clean.
Nurses wheel around heavy carts
of grief. The immensity of our love makes us ill
with sadness. How imposing that clock is, waiting on the mantle.
How fast it speeds around that axis. How difficult it is
to recognize you, sickness decorating every inch
of your body. The nameplate at the foot of your bed
is a defeated version of the one stitched onto your military uniform,
but it is a reminder that this is really you. The nameplate
at the foot of your bed won’t be there very long. It will be
replaced with the next person’s name, the room
with the next person’s family, the next girl
with her seat beside the bed and hands around hands
that are unresponsive, but open.


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