He hurtled out of the ward’s green doors -
they flapped and spluttered like sucker fish
falling from the side of a liner in dry dock.
He poked his head back in for a moment;
the doors opened as much as a clam does.
“I want my freedom,” he shouted at me.
I lay there, staring at his polished-floor face.
As if freedom was something I snipped at
with scissors, grown blunt over time from
cutting people down to the size of minnows.
I said, “We all need responsibilities, maybe
they’re the only things that keep us sane.”
And the doors flopped shut and shuddered.
An imagined tender core quivered once
then meandered out from a crushed pearl.
“Trust me,” the nurse said, “you won’t feel a thing.”