by | July 13, 2019

On the second day

you will not care

for the news.

Like a child

you will play:

tearing away

the cross word puzzle

and forgetting

the old country

with your gaze pointed

at the painted sunlight

of the dayroom.


You will remember 

the sixth day most of all

because you will have 

an answer; ticking each grey box

with letters shaped

like the pursed lips

of the smoking doctor

who juiced his head

like an orange

in medical school.


The hospital doors

are painted a silent green,

the color I imagine

the River Lethe to be.

And, like you, the undead 

know their fate

when they grit their teeth

and press their glass 

to blue lips,

giving it up



Imagine the strength –

the voluntary act

of passing from one life

into the next.

There must be

déjà vu. A tremble

of the hand at

a mother’s perfume,

the same hand that grasped

for the warm pit

where milk flowed

like the red sea.


When the nurse pulls

the telephone from its cradle

quietly, you will not mind – 

unreachable lunatic,

distant as the dead. 


Words by Alison Ferrante. Artwork by Eve Robson-Rooney.