By Jan Steckel

Underwater Hospital front cover

writing samples


The Underwater Hospital

By Jan Steckel

The zeitgeist has got me spooked.
The pain in my leg pries the lid oft time,
and out pile all these erstwhile dead folk
like midgets out of a circus coffin.

There’s the elderly female patient with dementia
whose nephew had raped her
though we refused to recognize it.
There’s Carmen with her box of chocolates
inviting me onto her bed to watch
Puerto Rican girls mud-wrestling
on late night black-and-white hospital TV.

As I swim through the submarine night
in this old house, round every corner
dead women’s faces float up,
clown fish picking their fingers clean.
Sea-grass hair undulates. Fillings glint.
Mother-of-pearl eyes shine from sockets.

Old women with rose petals strewn
around their hospital beds die alone.
Whores giggle and crack babies keen.
A woman kisses her baby
to show me how much she loves him
after she has broken all his limbs—
four little casts….

If I open this door, the dead will rush in
like a thousand tons of water, filling me up,
and I will never be able to shut that hatch again.


back to friends of RAW ArT PRESS >


Experimental Prose Series

Catalogue - Books in Print


Back List

Book Reviews

Publishing Services

Friends of RAW ArT PRESS