Hell in a Hand Basket

The hospital was so big
it had an elevator to the elevators,
structural columns like a fortress,
huge cement spaces
with shining stainless interiors,
the mellow glow of chrome
and cool white everywhere.
On a high floor, he seemed undersized for his room
looking out on another roof full of heating ducts;
going to hell in a hand basket we agreed
with tubes plugged in his arm through a permanent valve,
wearing a Big Island cap and watching college football.
We chit chatted without remark on the strangeness,
not at the end for either of us but clearly within sight.
He was a state cop after Vietnam corpsman,
power washed big kitchens, raised pigs and geese,
helped me bury my dog.
He loved spiritual things but never left the earth;
loyal like a turtle with a bark but gentle bite.
Said he was sticking around cause his kids
needed him to clean up a few things.
Was there much left I asked?
Oh yeah he laughed, then cried a bit,
giving me a hug as we parted in the doorway;
a sweet nurse took our picture,
the record of time and a friend
in my pocket.

 

Don Hynes

About Don Hynes

Don Hynes, husband, father, and grandfather, 1969 University of Notre Dame honors graduate, lives and writes in his adopted hometown of Portland Oregon. Author of three volumes of poetry, “Slender Arrow” (1998), “Out from Under” (2001), and “The Living Dark” (2007) as well as the weekly on line Poet’s Journal. While poetry has been his lifelong avocation, Don is also a tradesman, builder, and large projects construction manager and Owner’s Representative (http://cpmdonhynes.com)
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