A few decades ago I worked as an oncology social worker in Fayetteville NC. At some point this emerged:


On hospital beds some curl, moan.
Fluid lines, nasal tubes coil around frail bodies.
Nurses measure pulse rates, body heat, urine levels.
IV pumps grind through neon days and nights.
Caregivers sit like statues in ancient cathedrals.

This one lies alone. No one visits.
Her heart swells, collapses a skeletal chest.
Cotton bands bind both wrists to steel handrails.
She seems crucified by IV needles.

Well after midnight her eyes open
and stare at the doorway.
She whispers “Water.”
The door frame begins to glow then flicker.
A luminous figure appears, arms spread wide.
Needles fly out. Bands unravel, dangle from rails.
She rises and steps into the glow.

Strolling through a shimmering passage,
she emerges into a lush courtyard.
Sauntering to an orange tree, dew drenches her feet.
She plucks a fat one, peels its thick rind,
and droplets spray her cheeks.

Between orchids banks a crystal river
bubbles under a colossal throne.
The luminous figure appears by her side,
points at someone coming.

“Sandy?” she cries,
as her lost child runs towards her.