Who gets to be lucid 

And who comes into the ER in the middle of the night

Screaming wild nonsense about the president, and how he owes him money 

There’s a nurse there

In this particular ER

For her

Everything is concrete


The musk of him

The white foam gathering in the corners of his mouth 

The clock ticking the wasted time 

In the struggle

To obtain vitals

He is at sea

A thousand miles away

Unable to see light on the shore

But she is here with him

In utter realness

Touching the fabric of him

Seeing him in vivid color

And the tight bold lines that carve out his shape

She would rather be 

The one with the blood pressure cuff

Than the man at sea

With her smart white coat, clicky pen, and glasses on the end of her nose

So that she can peer at him skeptically 

Jot down his failure to “orient to time and place”

She enjoys the steady control 

Of knowing that there is no ship

No ocean