By Rob Cook
Each brick of the hospital attacks each brick next to it.
The fighting itself casts a shade that lengthens over the parking lot, the incurable, pampered vehicles.
The sky, a vast blockage, stays cemented to each curtain-lidded room—
(A flock of side effects keeps it there, prohibits the slightest blade of wind.)
The doctor gazes down at his many empty patients, an accumulation of bricks
and disordered questions:
“Will I get my stomach back if it still doesn’t work?”
“Why did you tell us on the coldest night to use our own skin as a blanket?”
“When you say ‘we don’t know,’ how many of you are there?”
The doctor brushes the air off his clothes and walks out.
Exposed to the window’s clarity, sixty milligrams of prednisone disturb the insides of the chrysanthemums left by a friend or a stranger, and it feels like a faint storm in your chest.
Far away, a hard tickle once mistaken for a cockroach
falls and makes a clicking noise,
a pill hitting the floor in pain.
Rob Cook is the author of nine books, including The Undermining of the Democratic Club, Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade, and Blueprints for a Genocide. His writing has appeared in Antioch Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Laurel Review, Epiphany, Colorado Review, Natural Bridge, Indefinite Space, Hotel Amerika, Notre Dame Review, Interim, Rhino, The Bitter Oleander, and Caliban, among others.