illness lies next to isolation
                      special needs are attended
caregivers smile paraphrase presumptions
                   return to computers
  return to chattering patient stories
                  return to their private thoughts

flanks of nurses arrive and leave
clicking, hooting, whistling machines
                        lost in daytime roars
become night's musical sounds
          hissing beyond wheezing
          stroking past painscreams

          returning home you become
            the center of activity
           everything is dropped
                to attend howls
sleeping pills replace dreams and sex
pain killers are mistaken for love
 away from you is where everyone goes to be normal
       you are aware of all that is done for you
there is a hidden, secret circle where you don't exist
where you are seldom mentioned except in sadness

              surrounded by people
                             you are solitary
              you float within voices
              hoping for self sanctuary
where you can bathe alone
      where you can dress alone
            where you can cook alone
                       as you once were
                 lying alone on a cliff
                  within ocean sounds
                  where only your soul knows you
                       absence dissolves pity
                  where only you know your soul

when you choose to seek it