Lonely IVs

The tumbling

The crumbling

of the hostel plaster

and my tingling legs.

Seeings stars

Behind bars

My brunette hair

On the concrete

Framing a new vision

The world looks the same

Horizontally

it turns out.

I thought maybe I could just lay there forever

No one seemed to notice

A sigh

Don’t worry

I got myself up.

The crumbling

The stars

The needles in my arms

The ambulance, the starchy sheets

I waited for your call

If a tear falls and nobody sees it

Did it really fall at all?

And as it turns out

Needles really do hurt less after a while

Maybe your veins adjust

You can still see the purple dots

The punctures

on the back of my hands

A constellation

Mapping freckles

sunken knees,

a detailed history

of lonely IVs.

And the call never came

I flickered in and out

of the world I didn’t really even want to be a

part of,

to be quite frank.

And the day turned to evening

Those birds were chirping

The middle-aged man next to me wailed for his mother

The junkie down the hall

— who probably was jealous of all my

needles, ha —

screamed in angry broken English.

The linoleum focused and blurred

Some beeping

They spelled my name wrong on the bracelet

I remember thinking

How annoying

It’s like I was never there.

“Is anyone coming to pick you up ma’am?”

A swallow, a shift of the eyes. “No.”

There’s a thing that happens

when you almost die

It’s like you reach a brink of panic

And then you actually, finally

Make it over that treadmill of a cliff

You can see it! The other side!

Well kind of

It’s a bright white sheet

And you are running towards it

A final exhale

Almost there

It’s kind of a disappointment

When you realize that for some reason

This wasn’t your time

And you’re brought back down

A crushing

A crumbling

A tumbling

A cruel tease

and an empty hospital

full of lonely IVs.

And its a specific kind of sunkenness

that you feel in your heart

when you have to tell the paramedic

Don’t bother –

Don’t bother, I’m in a cage already

He’s not intersted

The frothy beer

The girls with cigarettes

Those are more pressing

Than the girl in the dressing

gown with the lonely IVs –

Don’t bother

with my emergency contact

The only contact

is anger

the only contact

is silence

The only contact is the one that yanks out my tongue

and shoves it back down my throat

and then scolds me

for not speaking up.

Don’t bother his

black out

I’ll be fine

(I took myself home

on the Victoria line)

This ain’t my first rodeo

I’ll survive —

If a tear falls and you don’t feel it,

Are you even alive?