Cheers to the ER

by Chris Rosenbaum, MD

Resident Finalist for the 2006 Gerald F. Berlin Creative Writing Award

A familiar bathroom floor
Greets him as he wakes up,
With hard tiles for a bed
And a tiny rug for a pillow.
A recent hospital tag
Grips his puffy yellow skin,
And he’s soiled himself again.
The tired light of one more day
Breaks through his dirty window,
And his head pounds
From wandering the pavement.
In un-metered time
His hands struggle,
And his razor fails
With a beard grown to hide
From someone or something;
It doesn’t really matter.
Thinly veiled behind years
Of vodka and cigarettes,
He pulls on his vomit-stained clothes
And leaves the house again.
He’s getting ready for the place
Where everybody knows his name.