“Keeping Patient at the Hospital”

by Matthew Rowland

Walk a ring

around the nurses’ desk,

find the numbered room.

Smile at your uncle.

Pick a seat out of view.

Study Uncle watching

grainy cowboy flicks;

ancient actors

scowling between mesas

and mountains.

Study his monitors:

the green lines,

the yellow lines.

Stumpy like mesas,

pointed like mountains.

Wind blows off

gunslingers’ hats

to flow through

Uncle’s respirator.

Stand slow and polite

when Mom says goodbye.

Hug that cowboy.

Smile with your eyes.