The Secret Club

Morning comes and lies on my water bed
making waves of discomfort.
The bathroom my only goal, wondering
“Why can’t I go?”
The sweat pouring from my face,
I will just lie on the cold tiled floor.

The pager blaring in the silence of the next room,
father screaming, “Isn’t that yours?”
Prying myself from the floor, lurching to my transportation, my monster of a truck
biting into my belly, every bump tearing to my right.
The affluent Emergency Room filled with patients so sick, complaining of their agony.
Practically crawling to the patient’s bed, I push her down the hall.

The scan is over, the patient expectedly fine.  The paleness of my face, briefly
a bead of sweat hits the tile a moment before my head.
She puts down her Gucci purse, helping me to her wheelchair, pushing me back up the hall.
Come quick, he’s passed out on the floor.  Why yes, of course, he finished my scan.

Look it is one of our own!  He has knowledge of our secrets, our ways, our mystery.  Stick him —
his arm for the needle, roll him for the finger, flatten him for the knife.
Don’t waste the time with the explanation, he should know it all,
he is one of us, don’t you know.
What do you mean he can’t pay, he has no insurance,
Isn’t he one of us?

Awakening, a tube is where?  I can’t swallow, I don’t want the pain pills!  Why am I so feverish?
I am not complaining, questioning, I know how it works.  I too was one of you.
The doctor ripping the bedclothes down, dismantling the bandage, an infection.
I was told you were one of us, why do you not get well?
A week, home at last, hospital bill in tow, the phone ringing through the door
What do you mean you can’t take call tonight?  What’s your reason?

Your responsibilities remain, your replacement is not found, you can’t just walk away
from your duty to The Club, you are the patient no more.

Roy Werner, Class of 2001