The room was small

where we first met.

Fluorescent bulbs above

droned their dull hum.

An alto timbre warbled from the

corridor at my back,

and near-avian chirps

crooned from the ventilator

as it cycled in support –

somewhere between loon &


A susurration of roller pumps

muted by line pressure caterwauls,

joined the plummeting pitch of oximetry

and all coalesced

into a confusing cacophony

of misery too familiar –

one that beckoned my focus

and heralded quietus.

We stood, unnaturally,

Your husband nested

between beige bed rails.

Your hand held his,

mine cupped a stethoscope –

heard silence.