December 27th at the ER

I strike up a conversation with a forty-something ER Doctor

while outside

watching the million dollar

(taxpayer funded)

fountain

foam and spit up ninety gallons of water

(or however many gallons it takes to run a liquefied piece of art.)

He smiles at my joke

he's older then I am

but feels younger:

"you're really pretty"

he says out of the blue

and I crack a joke

to end the uniformity.

He's got a half a' drag left on his cigarette

and I wonder

if he means it-

am I

something worth looking at.

I feel dirty in hospitals-

lost in corridors

so shiny

that my eyes slant-

me

in my black coat

and backpack slug over my shoulder

housing the book

that I've gotten half way through

over my four hours of waiting

(I wait to hear what I already know-

watch a red headed boy extract my blood and poor it into vials.

Clear bottles of me

and my genetic self.)

We keep talking

It's easier then the silence

or the guttural lull of the fountain;

I tell him why I'm hear

(the sob story version)

and he says he's sorry

like he's the one who's

ruffed me up.

I've still got bruises from six months ago-

I've still got pain

(the natural kind

that dugs

can't reach out across my veins to fix.)

When my name gets called

and the sky turns black again

I leave him-

this

balding

boy

who

gave

a

shit

while sitting at a fountain.