Intensive Care by Ayrton Lopez

They said when I came to
I was blowing everybody kisses
And taking numb sucks on straws
Annunciating with a fat tongue—
That wet towel of vowel
Knotted in my mouth
I stretched for more water
And liquid slipped down the side
Of tender tissue, which only confirmed
That I didn’t know what I wanted
They asked me what was wrong
With silent brows
When I tried to mouth back
Somewhere a string was cut
And over the din of it all
Machines whistled a hole
Through the bathroom
With no mirror
And the child next door
Surrounded by vacant beds
Unable to breathe for himself
Blinked forth a blessing
And I lowered my head
Ayrton Lopez is a Mexican-Ecuadorian writer who lives and works in San Francisco. He was formerly the host of the spoken word poetry show “The Red Wheelbarrow” on KZSU 90.1 FM. His poems have appeared in Leland Quarterly and elsewhere.