During a heatwave, visitors are
forbidden beyond the reception desk.
Breathing machines run on batteries
after midnight nurses rush out
on cigarette break. There is
a sudden drop in humidity
with the scream of a new-born
dug out of the womb by hand.
Outside the hospital, a man walks
between candles like into a forest
delivering flowers to the maternity.
Alley cats rummage through garbage,
wish him good luck. Staff change shifts
back at depot for deep-cleaning.
Summer rainwater washes away
night traffic blood puddles.
© Maria Stadnicka, June 2021
Illustration: Atlanta Wiggs