A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2007, vol 3 no 4

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Colin Barber



The morphine has worn off almost completely, and the TV remote is now on the floor. I'm frozen to a bed and no one cares. I don't care really. I stare out the window.

flickering neon sign
to fall asleep

How ironic that on the night before Valentine's Day my heart suffers from the stress of a collapsed lung. The doctors expect a full recovery. Even still, I cannot shake my doubt. The slightest movement of my body ignites an unbearable pain that stems from a chest tube thrust between my ribs.

haloed moon
the doctor finishes
his smoke break

The city is alive and dead tonight. The afternoon rain has returned to the clouds, and the buildings no longer spill their reflections. I've become numb to ambulance sirens. I feel like I did as a child growing up near railroad tracks, frightened at first by locomotive screams, but soon indifferent to the laboring rumble. Tonight I lie here counting the hours between pills, while the city prepares for love and I prepare to live another day.

nervous kiss—
a leaf caught
in the widow's web

The night nurse enters and turns on the lights. She tells me that it's time for more morphine. An image of my hospital room fills the window. Nothing has changed.