The Bed Alarm

In three robotic chirps, the bed alarm responds,
To a one-sided conversation going nowhere.
“Please don’t get up, your son isn’t there!”
In three robotic chirps, the bed alarm responds.
They are taken out of bed, placed in a chair
Eyed watchfully across from the nurses’ station, lest they abscond.
In three robotic chirps, the bed alarm responds,
To a one-sided conversation going nowhere.

It was once a fulfilling life, his or hers or theirs,
(The chirps have neither gender nor identity)
Now reduced to one of anonymity.
It was once a fulfilling life, his or hers or theirs,
Now it is voiceless, confined to a chair,
Which screams in protest, every shift of weight a calamity.
It was once a fulfilling life, his or hers or theirs,
Now their chirps have neither gender nor identity.

Dr. Ritika Walia is an Internal Medicine Chief Resident at UMass Chan-Baystate and an incoming Hematology/Oncology fellow at UMass Chan. She is passionate about cancer survivorship, poetry, narrative medicine, and social justice advocacy.

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