Hospitals

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I watch the nurses
Stepping lively through the stark halls
Pastel-clad bodies moving swiftly as they soothe children, hook up IV’s,
Fluff pillows and share a smile with those small people
huddled in the beds.
Each bed shelters a different problem, each fresh pair of sheets
a new worry to be burdened.
The little girls with wide scared eyes
Kept alive by somebody else’s blood for a day.
Little boys and babies crying because the medicine tastes bad
and they don’t have a choice.
Small miracles when one of them cracks a smile, which they will, because they are children and they don’t understand that they should be sad.
Each a hero in a paper gown as they are eating out of a tube
Or hearing the news that they are spending another week in that hospital bed,
Learning to be brave before their time.
I watch the nurses, optimistic and upbeat.
Breezing through brightly decorated hallways
Walls smiling with painted giraffes and Winnie the Pooh
Lined with sterilized gurneys for those children
who don’t know they are sick yet.
A tight pang of clean distills in the air, haunting me later as I recall
Each hospital bed with fresh new sheets
Disinfected homes for the small legends
Soon to be admitted





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