Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Call Button

I was flying across the Pacific
and, inadvertently, I pressed the call button
and when the flight attendant appeared
I roused myself out of a mid-flight
half sleep half wake
and apologized and went back to my half state

Another call button arose in my thoughts
it was the early sixties and I was awaiting
a minor operation on a Sunday afternoon
bored in the hospital fascinated by the TV remote
warned to never press 
the call button lying snakelike next to my pillow

I must have clicked the television through
its three or four channels a thousand times
sparing a glance every other minute
to the forbidden call button by my head
all night as I half slept
it winked and beckoned in the room's half light

And yet another call button came to my mind
into a cool hospital room as I watched my mother
wrapped in ice to cool the fever
and wrapped in morphine to cool the pain
as breathing stopped
and I reached for the call button by her head



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