Push the button, you tell me
I look down at its red surface:
I listen, but I want
to keep pushing – keep pushing! –
Until someone realizes the state we’re in

“Another girl came in, her girlfriend sat beside her -”
says the nurse, talking, – talking –
We are so quiet
I nod but wonder – girl friend or girlfriend?
You look so out of place in that crib of a bed

Girlfriend – lover – most definitely not my girl friend
I hold your hand light brown like the fields I grew up in
With wheat colored fingers,
So tight we form a full circle.

The medication has soothed you but
terror stills runs through my body
at the thought – the thought – of your disappearance.
My mind started running with my feet
I had to catch that ambulance

I think about
Your clay-colored eyes that speak – creation! –
Lips with the softest words I’ve ever heard
Endless nights with crumpled bedsheets and laughter
And kitchen smells
Of adobo and pansit

Today is my partner’s birthday. Last Sunday I had to take her to the hospital, so it is in fact a happy birthday to see her well.

I also wrote this poem to recognize the fact that we often don’t realize how tenuous these relationships really are – how easily threatened by time and health.


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