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No Comfort for a Nurse

The catheter is extracted

By means of a syringe

Inserted into the rubber tube

Which empties the liquid from the balloon

Trapping it inside the bladder

Enabling removal via the urethra


Like a skinned eel or dead fish


And how she had cried and remembered

And tried to forget before he was injured

In the war and sent back home

A relic, something to be laughed at


Or pitied, the subject of public house

Humor, lying there the whole time trying to preserve

His dignity, remembering old times

When after her day shift at the hospital


They had gone dancing


Holding each other as close as bark

Around a tree; now she was only needed

By all those old men in the ward

With their prostate and bladder problems


Requiring a change of diaper

A fresh bag, a word of reassurance

She felt cold and full of emptiness

Tried to reach out to him in the bed

Past the steady rhythm of his breathing


When he did not move

She hunched her back

Placed her palms between her thighs

Then tried to sleep

But no amount of comfort under blankets


Could warm her up

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© Johnmichael Simon



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