Glass Poetry Press

Volume Two Issue Two

Linda Leedy Schneider

Conversations: Emergency room

Where does it hurt? I have a pain in my chest that goes up into my left jaw. I have never felt a pain like this before. Where does it hurt? To the ends of each hair, through my bones, the space that held my uterus, but mostly to my heart. What medications do you take? Cenestin, a natural hormone replacement, Trazadone for sleep. What medications do you take? I drank mother's milk. I take in my husband's sperm. Does that hurt? My veins are hard to find. They are small and they roll. Does that hurt? Yes, like fire, empty eyes, my mother's tears. I have perfected being hard to find and rolling from pain. In fact, I am such an expert, I try to teach others. We'll just put this on your chest. We'll need a running EKG. Are you OK? Yes. Are you OK? As OK as I can be with seven plastic circles pasted over and around my breast. The right breast, always the better of the two, still holds the heat of a strange man's hand. Is your blood pressure always this high? What is it? Is your blood pressure always this high? No, I am afraid. I am in the wallpaper border around this ceiling like the flowers in my mother's room in the Memory Unit. My husband's father died in this ER, and no one cried but me. I am trying to float free. Have you had cancer? No Have you had cancer? No, but I slept on the floor of my father's hospital room heard the machine suck fluid from his stomach, touched the urine bag in the dark. Hoped it was warm. Wished it was cold as ice. My husband, curled in the chair in the corner, asks, "Are you alright?" I think so "Are you alright" Read the green numbers. Look at the numbers. All I know for sure is if I look toward you, tears slide to my bare chest. I would rather look at the circling flowers near the ceiling or the needle in my vein.