Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Night Shift

I apologize in advance for the imagery. My mind is, on occasion, warped. This job, this life, will do that to you.


I lie on the futon and stare at the ceiling with its fluorescent lights, acoustic tiles, and sprinkler head. The futon is definitely a step up from the abandoned gurney with mold creeping along the bottom of the pad; a gurney no longer fit for man and therefore donated to beast. We, however, did not differentiate between man and beast and returned the gurney to man, or woman as it were, as temporary sleeping quarters. Thankfully this used futon has taken its place.

Musty cologne wafts from the pillow case. I know who worked the night before and contemplate changing the sheets. Instead I close my eyes and picture dust mites, eight legs a piece, crawling in and out of the fabric like maggots burrowing through rotten flesh; with each breath millions of microscopic creatures are torn from their nests and plunged into alveoli then ripped from tissue and flung into space. In and out, in and out; I breathe steady with knowledge. The carnage is mine.

Computer beacons penetrate eyelids; constant reminders that I am not home. I pull the threadbare blanket over my head and wonder how many animals died nestled in its creases; how much urine and vomit caressed the stitching? What organic matter was set free in the wash and what remains?

A dog cries out. He’s been rebuilt. His pelvis more metal than bone. That doesn’t diminish the pain of being turned; rotated every four hours to prevent bed sores. He’s been here a week. He’s still not walking. Is it worth it to continue the fight?

What have I done? How did I get here? What am I doing? I need to rest. Soon the phone will ring and I’ll be called into action; expected to be lucid and intelligible while cohorting with the moon. I lie on the futon in a modified savasana, a corpse pose, and dream of sleep.



Jamie said...

Wow! That is some serious imagery. Very well written - it gave me the heebeejeebees.

Gayle said...

Shalet, this is such a haunting post.

Amy said...

Beautifully written. Thank you (again) for sharing.

Donna said...

Your writing is always so eloquent...and vivid. not sure I'd want to lie down on that futon though!

ELK said...

very real.....i liked it!