Cancer ward

Would never be used

By anyone on this floor

Archaic term for death

In horrifying forms

The 7th floor

Looks like all the others

Tastefully decorated in tranquil shades

Of subdued colors

And medicinal smells

It looks like all the others

But is not

Gravity labors harder here

Dragging at the body


Making ponderous footsteps

On plushly carpeted hallways

The air dense enough to push

Through and no matter how

Many lights

It is never quite bright

I find my way here

To sit and be company

To hold a hand in a eternity

Of pain

I look at weary blue eyes

As we talk

And sometimes cry

We reflect on many things and times

And remember

For we know that remembering is all

There soon will be

The lights are always

Dimmer when I leave

My mouth dry from the words

But I quickly pass the water fountain

Just outside the door

For we’re on the 7th floor

I can’t bring myself

To drink the water there

           Michael F. Mathews

             March 09, 1989

               Tampa, FL