There’s no name in his spot
on the screen mounted at the end
of the hallway in ICU, not like
where it says RICO or MV.
There are just tiny numbers
in red and blue, along with
two jagged horizontal lines,
miniature versions of the ones
across the hall in this buzzing room,
the one marked with a big black 8.
Out there they trickle across
the tenth of the glass identifying
the inhabitant as BED08.
But his name is really Andrew,
and he’s a husband, a father,
a brother, a friend, a blue collar
who got sick, and then sicker,
and went from being BED5225A
to BED5228, before he eventually
became the so terribly thin man
the machine breathes for in BED08.
And I sit here next to him, barely
recognizing the burly guy whose
diapers I once changed when he
was a wee one, and I’m wondering
how this happened, how I just
saw him in that incubator only
yesterday (forty-nine years ago
yesterday to be exact) and now
we’re back again, only here at BED08.
I sigh, I’ve become quite practiced
at sighing lately, when I recall
at least in that little hot box
where my tiny pink brother
whisper-cried and slept, the card
on the front let whoever saw it
know he was a person, even if
all it read was BABY BOY HESCH.