A patient had his gastrointestinal system opened up. The surgeon realized that there was “too much stuff going on,” put her hands up and left the operation room. An hour later another doctor walked in and saw that the patient was fading. The doctor opened the window, wheeled the hospital bed to it and tilted up the bed. The patient slid off and out the window. The dying patient fell on an intern nurse, whose neck snapped.
A senior cardiologist, with dark-rimmed glasses and a graying goatee, walked past the crushed intern. He shook his head, muttering to himself, “Interns.” He was joined at the entrance by the hospital’s top surgeon, who had a faraway, glassy look in her eyes. They engaged in small talk, such as if the inflatable globes in the children’s cancer ward could also be used as kickballs during playtime. Then they discussed the weather, how clouds had gathered, like a metastatic mass, but the sun still shined. Before going to their offices, they placed their hands on each other’s genitals, checking for a pulse.
The hospital director showed up in a limo around noon. When the limo driver opened his door, the director, with a light brown, bristle-broom moustache and a bald crown, began practicing a speech he’d deliver to his employees. Approaching the bodies on the walkway, the director paused, and his thin-gloved fingers went to his chin. He nodded and gave the dead patient a quick pat on the back before continuing on his way.
Peter F. Crowley is an author with a M.S. in Conflict Resolution, Global Studies from Northeastern University. His poetry book Those who hold up the earth was released by Kelsay Books in 2020.