For My Best Friend

Tongo Eisen-Martin

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We are losing the intensive care unit waiting room war


We were doing so well

           So well we got sleepy

                       So sleepy the institution returned


In the 8th adjoined room sleeping on the 8th adjoined chair


The last five minutes just like the first


Hands behind teeth / teeth behind us


Wall plans decorated with her favorite mannerisms


Flight / within a subtle sweep


Or institution light leaps off of a dreamt thought

                                                                  ... in time


She saved my life before,

you know,

all of them ... those lives


One way or the other, every story is told backwards or twice


And waking up rough is the same as going roughly into a dream

— is also something her eyes would say


Your sister is not going home

Tongo Eisen-Martin, “For My Best Friend” from Heaven Is All Goodbyes. Copyright © 2017 by Tongo Eisen-Martin. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017)