I liked that thoomp-thoomp rush into the tube
as I dragged the Hoover through the sleeping quarters,
sucked up socks and spare change, created order
out of open letters, insomnia-rumpled beds. I slipped chewed
pencils into desks and folded sweaters over photosnude
girls concealed gently in the deepest corners
of bureau drawers. In the kitchen, the Danish cook bartered
and cajoled in broken English while ox tails stewed
and I lined spices up by size. I let him speak uninterrupted,
ignored his furtive shots of rum, medications
for a scar he showed mesmooth skin on his back in a swath.
Outside the window a brief cry of voices erupted.
Primal scream, he told me, but I never saw the patients,
only heard the silence heavy with his breath.