by Michael Mackin O’Mara

for Julio

the Port-a-Cath installation obliterated denial

though you tried not to resemble a patient

the first transfusion bloomed a crimson corsage across your shirt

Dx                Anemia, Spring Summer Fall

Hibiclens, sterile field, mask, gloves

three times round with alcohol swabs, three times povo-iodine

from needle hub into practiced finger-paint spirals for a dressing change

T.I.D. (three times a day) coaxed toward self-sufficiency

now the nurse appears at our door a few times a week for vitals, blood draws,

to remove and replace the used Huber needle

Dx                 CMV Retinitis, Winter Spring Summer

hang the hydration bag, prime the set,

swab the needleless access, the blunt cannula

flush the Huber, swab again and connect

the song of the infusion pump will drone the next three hours

T.I.D. every day six days a week for god knows how long

the alarm sings there’s air in the line

the alarm sings hang another bag

the alarm sings “Nessun Dorma”

Dx                 Retinal Detachment, Fall Winter Spring

you tango the IV stand round every room

—you could roll it down the walkway and stroll the grounds

but you don’t

your good eye numbers your days with telenovelas in syndication

in back-to-back semesters we study medicine and law

new drugs, new treatments, new procedures

health-care proxies, living wills, DNRs

we learn which docs, which nurses, would as well let us die      

thank god, the chaplain no longer visits

the counselor at the clinic finds you in seizure

I want to reassure her

this happens all the time but she’s already 911’d

EMT. Rescue lifts you as if you were made of air

they strap you down to keep the heavens from reclaiming you

I follow deep in the wake of sirens

Dx:                Seizures and Fevers of Unknown Origin, Summer Fall Winter

we hang IV bags from the clothes hook in the backseat

and drive an odd weekend anywhere but here

it takes a while to realize they prefer you sedated

when you separate the Ativan from the pills they proffer

they inject your IV instead

Dx                 PCP Pneumonia, Spring Summer Fall

a familiar nurse pretends she’s our concierge

Welcome, sirs, your usual suite is prepared,

and how long will…

she recoils from her own jest when she comprehends

the skin and bone of you

Dx                 Cryptosporidium, Winter Winter

they no longer ask me to leave

your sisters smuggle nieces and nephews

your momma smuggles iguana soup

the doctors have given up; they admit this in code
We’ll make him as comfortable as we can

Dx                                                                                           Spring

Michael Mackin O’Mara works for a nonprofit in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is the managing editor of the South Florida Poetry Journal concentrating on audio and video submissions. He has been published by Chantwood Magazine, Door is a Jar, Switched-on Gutenberg, Silver Birch Press and Indolent Books. His hobbies include photography, videography, and graphic arts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s