The 2River View  

Michael A. Flanagan

hospital block

afternoons when i was a little
kid, in the street with friends,
throwing a football, or tossing
a baseball, the ambulance
would race down the block,
lights on, engine roaring, i’d
try and see inside, i always
thought my father might be
in there, on a stretcher, sick
and dying, if i knew he was
at home, i’d watch, fingers
crossed, waiting until they
passed by our house,
maybe it was just living
on that block, where it was
a constant thing, sometimes
two or three an hour, maybe
it was my father, he didn’t
lead a clean life, always with
a cigarette hanging out of
his mouth, always with a
drink in his hand, at night,
lying in bed, i’d hear the
siren, the lights reflecting
off my bedroom wall, i’d
wonder if they were
coming to us, wonder
if, finally, tragedy was
at hand, that thing i
seemed always to be
waiting for, holding my
breath, fastened to the
noise, the turning lights,
until they were gone


inching away

silence like a last breath,
my footsteps on the brown
floor, late hour clocks,
cat’s walking tired drive-
ways, this house on my
head, these debts in my
ear, tell me, what do
we do with our days?
can you get hold of one
thing that would truly
add meaning to the next
hour of your life? there
are children i see every-
day, they’re all new,
where it’s heading
we can tell them, but
what's the good in that?
from my window i stare
at a tree limb set against
a dark sky, i watch the
dull light of a lamp post,
i’m thinking about
traveling, no luggage,
a bottle of beer be-
tween my legs, an old
car down an empty
road, inching away