The Man in the Bed Opposite

by Alexandra Trowbridge-Matthews

                                  The man in the bed opposite is dying.
                                  Nightly his stench explores the room.
                                  Invasions of cables recycle fluids
                                  as his inner tubes perish.
                                  We try not to wish him dead but fear
                                  this unmannered dying will delay
                                  our own fragile recoveries.

                                  Each day from the bed opposite
                                  there is just one moment of flickering interest
                                  as George-the-trolley brings the dinner,
                                  (the dinner that cannot be eaten).

                                  Each day the same papery question,
                                  "Is there any cauliflower?"
                                  "Not today, peas today,
                                  perhaps tomorrow."

                                  George is lying.

                                  There is a three day rota.
                                  Peas.      Beans.      Carrots.
                                  There will never be cauliflower.

                                  Sedation melts the screen.
                                  Each day is a little life,
                                  a tabula rasa.

                                  Each day the man in the bed opposite
                                  has hope,
                                  where there is no hope.

The Man in the Bed Opposite - Alexandra Trowbridge-Matthews
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