Things You Can't Say
There are things you can’t say:
fuck, amputate, HIV-positive, critical, dying.
Instead you say: darn, remove, double-bagger,
so-so, everything’s going to be just fine.
It is supposed to keep the patient from feeling bad.
It is supposed to keep the paramedic from feeling bad.
It is supposed to keep the doctors and nurses
who are waiting in the warm hospital with a cup of
bad coffee and a mental clock of how long
since they’ve slept from feeling bad.
even the night watchman
even the woman who cleans the sheets
even the mother waiting patiently for the doctor
to come out and tell her that her son is okay
knows what is being said.