The Tank

by Angus Grieve-Smith

He has been there for days.
There are tubes everywhere, some going in, some going out.
One tube goes to the Tank.

The hospital is Cleansing.
Casualties from the war in his chest flow down the tube into the Tank.

As this is happening, he sits weakly,
Propped up against the pillow, and gripes.
Look at how they forget things,
How clumsy they are with the chamber pot.

And he tells stories.
Funny, I thought I had heard all his good stories.
But he tells tales of the uptight old folks,
The insanity of strangleheld life in West Texas,
Until darkness falls.

They never enjoyed a penny of all that money, he says, and then almost gleefully,
And then they left it to me and I spent it!

But later, when I am gone,
He will stop hearing his neighbors chatting.
He will sit, quiet,
And almost cry.

April 13, 1993