Treasure Island

akingbehin daniel murphy

(18 march 1994 / lagos, nigeria)

The White Cotton


WHITE OF COTTON
Oh, the white of cotton sheets,
the perfect edge, the perfect
pleats
The dreary walls, the lonely halls,
the soft excruciating calls
I always gladly stood by you
through every test they put you
through
The chemicals, the painful nights,
the nightmare dreams and
stinging bites
But when I saw you lying there
so thin and weak, no voice, no
hair
Your chest, your head, your
thinning back were left in
radiation black
My eyes were not prepared to
view this dying man, this other
you
Who lived with me beneath blue
sky, and now a man too weak to
cry
And oh, the white of cotton
sheets, the tubes and needles,
rhythmic beats
Metallic bed, metallic sound, a
skimpy robe they tied around
My heart was not prepared to
see you tugging chains to set
you free
And oh, how much your eyes
beseech a nurse's button out of
reach
Never had I seen on earth
discomfort's torture on a berth
With sheets of alabaster white,
with ends and corners tucked in
tight
Your rose was but a thorny bush,
a button there too weak to push
And all your pain I took as mine,
til morphine's regulation time
A bowl of soup you could not eat,
disturbing words you could not
speak
A skeleton between the threads
of sheets of white on metal beds
And every player played his part,
but no one had prepared my
heart

Submitted: Friday, January 27, 2012
Edited: Friday, January 27, 2012
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