I intensify atoms. With every step, every breath between pause, a rushing haze of red water flicks –to remind me– there’s that ugly taste on the lips. Picked apart the platelets crack stubborn shades to get floor from skin, but it’s already too late to try – must stay awake – rubbed raw a thousand times and watered-down to the same vague sense not red, not pink, a mirage of rushes cycles back around again. The big-red has blown, its heavy water spilt – but at least it’s not mine, it’s his.
Nurses and doctors blur past in stream of bodies to attend his fleeting melody –then into discord– a pixelating splash that conquers the eye. Quick-marched to intensive care via tromboning silver seraph pipes, grabbed and pulled, spinning faster undone through double doors of crowded halls. Paperwork explodes into crushed white doves, they’re slamming harder now but almost there, another lonely cell spirited on to the emergency ward.
Hands rest heavy on the pole (grip fast to what you know) waiting, still, to breathe in sulphurous moods from before. Those same waves flow in crystalline ammonia, a scent that guides me to motion as every sweep arcs harder, no different from the last, though the water gets bloodier as you go down. Every changing patient looks like the other with pain multiplied against laboured erosion. There’s more rushes and blood, more beats and breaks, stand well back to watch surfaces evaporate.
Splash out more water to send away the burning tigers that flourish in course, sweeping dead cells down the drain. This is the way: cleaning around the clock to make every one, every thing, the same.
Next wave’s splash and splat, then arrested by manifold crash at the skirting board, spitting up the wall – another door slams. Each sweep expands, a seawall that rushes to the fore. Our hygienic sanity is meted-out in harsh alkali flats that sting the eyes, cause nose to scrape and itch as tongue laps for moisture on dry roof of the mouth. See sickle moons etched in white as soft dust pockets explode with the rush of bodies, picking out the embryonic dots.
White-feather falls from nowhere, fading swan-like in the streaks and leylines of running bleach, only to be trammelled by crooked wheels, scuff marks and slashes. Pale light lingers on but I’m reminded of more work to be done by slow drips at numb wet toes, all dragging me back to waking life. Wet swathes gleam, still not dry, as if no time had passed at all.
Mop in hand. Press it. Grid. Grind left shoulder down to worthless gear, an apex wearing out and away. I am dust and not much else. Against my hand letters ‘NF’ rise, scratched on the handle as diamond lines that run into grooves of thumbprint, known by touch.
Set in plastic, the floor sparkles on; but the sun never seems to move on like it should. It peers through, marking fragments of chiming stars and odd kinks in the factory-pressed glass. Pick out the burning points that drag warped ground out from under. New signs of warming light break through mind’s cloud to give off occasional sparks in the darkest spaces. My tired eyes stare on, wanting to be there in those brighter places, to see their silhouettes shine.