The Zimmer Infusion Room

Is large and filled with cubicles,
two recliners each,
chrome IV poles hung with drip bags,
—clear, lavender, yellow—
drugs sliding down
into chest ports
or arms with needles into veins.
It isn’t a stage
but the patients, both young and old,
have their entrances
and their exits.
Dan, a retired airline pilot,
is in the next recliner.
He tells funny stories from on high—
how an unruly drunk
fell to his knees in the aisle
and puked on the feet of a flight attendant,
the odor causing her
to puke on his head.
Now Helen, my nurse,
changes bags on the pole,
checks my dosage on a computer screen,
adjusts the pump,
and asks if I want a heated blanket
for the very cool air.
Yes, please!
A volunteer offers peanut butter crackers
And soft drinks.
A woman comes in with a comfort dog.
I thank her, but no.
Dan is asleep.
Benadryl makes me
too sleepy to read the book I thought
would make these hours go faster.
Nurse Jane enters the cubicle.
She asks if I’d like a light massage.
I’ve never had one, so yes.
I upright the recliner.
Her gloved hands
radiate a warmth that goes deep,
her fingers tending to tight muscles
in shoulders and neck,
even working my hairless scalp
into a fine relaxation.
When I wake,
Dan’s recliner is empty, his blanket gone.
He’s made his exit.
I wonder if I’ll ever see him again.
Or anyone else who was here.