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Friday, April 16, 2010

Deadline



[For today's prompt, write a deadline poem. You can interpret what a deadline poem is however you wish. Maybe it's a poem that laments the idea of deadlines. Maybe it's a poem about someone intentionally missing them or who never has problems with them (I wish I were that person). Regardless of how you take it, remember that you have until tomorrow before another prompt will be posted. Consider that your poetic deadline.]




In an urban trauma center
a gunshot victim
becomes just a portion
of the 2 am bedlam—

the changing of the guard;
EMTs hand off the victim
to the hospital staff—

in a hurried continuum
down a corridor
throw swinging doors
now under bright lights
the crimson soaked shirt
is cut away—

bags to IV tubes refreshed,
monitor hooked up,
orders shouted like barking
from competing street vendors

from here it looks like chaos
but the movement is routine
as a well practiced fire drill.
This is the fifth or sixth gunshot
this week— I lose count
and it’s only Thursday.

“We’re losing him” shouts a voice…
“Stand back,” comes another.
“Clear!” things become
slow motion here. Another,
“clear!”

The red line on the monitor flattens out—
They've reached another deadline;
“Time of death 2:32 a.m.”
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