in the emergency room
BY JENNIFER GIVHAN
The belief that we may finally encounter glory. A child screaming our only language for pain. The talk turns to heaven: two of them waiting for news, another trying to breathe & the wait
long. The lit tunnel of my eyes like lightning bugs low in a summer field, so the sounds amplify: the heaven they discuss, throbbing my ears, underwater heartbeat. A painting Tanguy named
The Lovers, whose salt bones, mineral deposits, curve-lined wishbones like so many parabolas on a piece of ocean-colored graph paper nearly puzzling together but not quite. Like anchors
above the lovers, smaller pieces of bone floating in chaos, unconnected to any larger bodies. One perched like a woman’s torso, another the head & horns of a white-skulled horse, & then
one dancer’s lithe arabesque, or grand finale. If heaven were a curtain, it’d be rising.
BY JENNIFER GIVHAN
For months the phone’s been ringing for Jeffrey. There’s no Jeffrey here, I say. No diabetic either. When they call again searching for his sugar-levels I worry he’s not getting his insulin
shots. I once knew a boy named Jeffrey. He became a lackluster car thief or an ultimate fighting underdog. He rode me on the back of his motorcycle, the wind making red vines of my hair,
colorful sugar granules of fearful laughter. You know how sometimes you’ve been lost or broken down on the side of a road you didn’t know existed until the phone rings for someone
you’ve never met. I’m unstable for you, Jeffrey. I mean I love you, and your diabetes. Even as I suspect you must not exert yourself without your diabetic socks, your compact glucose
monitor. I don’t tell them this when they call. I don’t say Give Jeffrey my love and a slice of sugar-free cake when you finally reach him, if it’s not too late. If he exists outside this strange
coma I’ve made for us, Jeffrey, amputated from reality.