Two poems by Andrea Lambert
The unmistakable pulling of a tube connected to a needle in a vein,
That hollow feeling
That waits to be filled by the nurses that change nightly.
Some of them are kind,
They bring me a borrowed phone charger,
I cried to her more than once in the dim green hours of the morning
When she said goodbye
She said she’d pray for me.
I am used to prayers for me being
Directed toward my big gay sin
To be prayed against,
To be prayed to be other than whom one is.
To her, sweet honest face turned upward
Planes luminous in the moonlight
She said, “I will pray for you to get better.”
I was moved in a way
I didn’t think was possible
By such words.
Old wounds, freeways and things that are not
I sit on the orange flowered couch
In the cool of the evening
And poke at the lumps in my arms
Left by the IVs
The saline deposits
Like the hardness in my bicep
When she would plunge the needle
The speedball flowing in.
It is quiet now.
The rush of the traffic outside,
Like the ocean behind the house I grew up in
There too there was always
The soft waves
The rise and fall of white noise
But it too was freeways
Not the ocean.
I set my iPhone to ocean sounds and try to sleep
My wife calls them “my dolphins”
I feel like I am in a boat rising
And falling, far out to sea
But they are electronic
And in a way the cyborg fits
“Hooked to an appliance”
“I will donate you to science,
You’ll be hooked to an appliance.”
We used to sing that, my wife and I
Hooked to several appliances,
Oxygen: a toaster
The EKG: a microwave
The blood pressure cuff: a hairdryer
The heart monitor: a TV
The IV: a waffle-maker
Now unencumbered the flesh
I am naked in front of the air conditioner
Poking my old wounds into silence.
Andrea Lambert is the author of Jet Set Desolate, Lorazepam & the Valley of Skin, and the chapbook G(u)ilt. Her work has appeared in HTMLGIANT, 3:AM Magazine, FANZINE, Entropy, Queer Mental Health, and ENCLAVE. Her poetry has been anthologized in Writing the Walls Down: a convergence of LGBTQ Voices, Off the Rocks #16, The L.A. Telephone Book, You’ve Probably Read This Before, and Chronometry. She is a visual artist and CalArts MFA. Find her online at andreaklambert.com
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