There are pretty rooms in this hospital,
rooms with wallpaper borders and fabric valances
over windows framing a sweeping view of
the surrounding hills and heaven-bound steeples;
rooms with custom built closets and shelves
and mirrors to see yourself smile.
This room is not one of them. This room is
yellow. Tired yellow. Not the yellow of sunrise
or ducks or spring balloons but the same yellow as
the chair in the corner, the spotted linoleum on the floor,
the metal inserts dividing the ceiling tiles.
This room looks out over the graveled rooftop of
the elevator shaft, whirling turbines the only testament
to fresh air. This room feels like a room where
old people die and he’s in it, and I’m in it, and
there’s no turning back.
There is a framed print on the wall of two white swans
gliding through a turquoise stream surrounded
by spring blooming plants in pinks and yellows and
anchored by a solid stone bridge crossing from one
peaceful shore to the other and
I wonder if we’re supposed to be the swans,
gliding gently from one world into the next, surrounded
by peace and pastel harmony without ever seeing
the hunter in the bushes, hiding, waiting,
hungry, and raw.
Author’s Notes: Poems really are wherever you find them. I wrote this poem from personal experience when my husband was in the hospital for a week with pancreatitis and then gall bladder surgery.
In 2011, “Room 232,” won Second Place awards in contests in Missouri and in Arizona. In 2012, it won First Place award in the 2012 Poetry Matters Contest in Marietta, Georgia and was published in their anthology, Poetry Diversified: An Anthology of Human Experience.
“Room 232” also appears on the first page of River Poets Journal: A Collection of Poems, Prose, Stories, and Art on our Windows to the World 2017: Special Edition “Windows”.
Sally's first publication for children is "Where's My Hug?" a lift-the-flap board book published by WorthyKids/Ideals. Buy it for a child you love.