Amy Souza and Rebecca Harris

Amy Souza
Watercolor on paper, 24 x 8 inches

The Good One
By Rebecca Harris

Inspiration piece

Medical City; at least the name is clean
the rest is a white-hot mess of diagnostic flies in vascular Vaseline
wrong window, wrong LaboratoryCorporation, wrong printout
time keeps on slipping into that indefinite future

And I bribe the technicians with the good Swiss chocolates
be good to her – better than you even should be;
mark your chart with the thing invisible, the succotash slide rule jellyroll
of a love bee

She is not my blood, an in-law, true enough
but hers is the husky Tennessee baritone that knows me, has always known
her knowing eyes, including the one with the magnificent iris dot
never looked askance, never too-much-to handle solace sought
not when she could draw even the narrowest of lines
between what should never in a million years have been
and the one true thing that was mine

The cavernous lobby is home to a sparrow
a North Texas native of the pettiest of wars
–not to mention the openings and closings of all those automatic doors

And the Hospital Auxiliary seem unconcerned
the oldest, the one clearly in charge, smiles when I ask if I could help to net
it, to set it free
“Oh, that bird, he’s been in here for more than a year,”
and this is the end of the conversation and the implicit direction
to take care to distinguish a haven from a cage

Another floor
another hallway
another delay
on this melting dreamsicle of a day
bring on the well-heeled agents of mercy
she is only here to make good on every promise ever made

Tear down your actuarials
no family history will tell her story
she is the witch, the warrior, the war statistics could never wage

And I will lay it down, every matriculated, accumulated bit
for an extra minute with that sage aviatrix’s matchless wit
for a knowing glance (she is not only Good, the is the one and only One)
for a last best chance to pull some neat trick
that might begin to explain

Why I have stayed
why I could not have gone
why hers is the only home

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