Night Duty

You were wheeled in at 20 past 12.
An ancient pupae wrapped in a white cocoon.
Boney and paper skinned,
your eyes were closed,
but your mouth hung open
in the o shape of shock. 

Images of your insides revealed your pain.
The doctors diagnosed,
then told the family the dread news,
while I drowsily fed futile drugs
into your veins
through the cold comfort needle. 

I watched your stillness and wondered,
did you turn gratefully toward the light,
or were you standing on the edge
of the precipice raging
against the injustice of life
completed, and yet, not complete? 

In your absence machines
amplified the mercurial beat
of your quivering heart.
Your breath shallow as a saucer
did not disturb the air as the weary night left
and daylight came, offending my eyes. 

Still I kept watch over your hollow husk
until I was sure you had departed for good.
At 8:30 I called to the whistling porter
waiting In the corridor
who came and wheeled you out
And then I left for home