I argue to let me stay, but they say, “Sorry,
even her nurse can’t be here.” One pulls
the curtain around the bed, they begin
their silent work as if this was the third
time today. I watch silhouettes on thin fabric,
worry they’ll tug on IVs, lean on her fractures
as they lope around like monkeys
flashing their cameras. The last time
she was awake, a gunman
made her strip on the counter
in the Rialto café,
hooked his elbow around her neck—
IF ANYONE MOVES, I’LL SHOOT.
I hear a clatter of metal as bedrails are lowered
two lean over her to roll her front and back,
one moves her head wrapped in gauze. Someone
climbs onto the bed, readjusts the lights,
shoots down on the swollen face, one side black
and collapsed like a November pumpkin.
Now there are two on the bed.
What does she dream as the mattress quakes,
as male hands touch her skin?
“Talk to her. Talk to her,”
I whisper behind the curtain.
Her gown falls
to the tile. They stand at the foot
of the bed. I fly around the curtain
before the next flash.