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,
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
where there is no hope.