The Taste of Ice


After the attending ordered you shackled to the gurney
and fed ash that you geysered back
like an anguished volcano —

After the medical student inquired about your scarred arms
and lectured on “liver function impairment won’t show
for another 24 to 48 hrs”

After the technician adjusted the slow pulsing drip of your IV
and left a cup of ice chips to feed you
if you ever woke up —

I watched even the backs of your hands sweat
and thought I heard in every rattling breath
a cart pushing closer through the hospital halls:

Nurse Death, making his rounds.


[image via]

10 thoughts on “The Taste of Ice

  1. Beautiful and potent. I sometimes think of the smell that lives in most hospitals–perhaps its the medicine- the house where lives are ushered out and others are brought in.

    Loved this line especially “Nurse Death, making his rounds.”


    1. Thanks! I’ve had the bones of this piece for many years and reworked it countless times — the title is the one element that has never changed.


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