Isolation (Dream Poem #22)

Wandered into this ward sometime before dawn. No alarms,
just pieces of attention, nurses, wagons for the dying.
Space of ceiling, eternity.
No walls exactly: it’s not a lively place. I notice
they have had to take some of my brain, remove
bulk of my heart but I
have never thought so clearly, never loved
with so much awkward urgency.
I have my things in paper bags, name in Sharpie, crumpled
by a bed. There’s no food here, no drugs to make it safe
to mingle with the well. No disgrace
and no emergency: it’s only epidemic.
I’m set to be discharged into the shopping mall outside,
ovations for my homecoming,
but there’s no need to rush: there are other patients left
in here and I don’t think they’re coming out
so steer away the cart
for now. Let’s clear the air and let some ocean in.
Drooping sun knows what I mean; it’s left its imprint
in halls, shines beside the chair in the solarium.
I have never felt so feathered and my brood is sleeping
in fresh sheets, my heart restored and brain was just
a luxury, atrophy of something that once seemed to mean
the world. I’m coming into season
in this last ward in the shell-shocked hospital

where we don’t bother with our masks and gloves,
where we live to treat this mindless city’s
strayed, infectious, broken doves.