Surgical Ward: Men

Something occurred after the operation
To scare the surgeons (though no fault of theirs),
Whose reassurance did not fool me long.
Beyond the shy, concerned faces of nurses
A single white hot eye, focusing on me,
Forced sweat in rivers down from scalp to belly.
I whistled, gasped, or sang, with whitening knuckles
Clutched at my bed grip almost till it cracked:
Too proud, still, to let loose Bedlamite screeches
And bring the charge nurse scuttling down the aisle
With morphia needle leveled. . . .
Lady Morphia —
Her scorpion kiss and dark gyrating dreams —
She in mistrust of whom I dared outdare,
Two minutes longer than seemed possible,
Pain, that unpurposed, matchless elemental
Stronger than fear or grief, stranger than love.