A nurse is a good person to be
with a vagabond heart,
you can love a stranger instantly,
place your hands lovingly, true love,
upon their body to wash them, bathe them,
soothe them, feel their pulse, ask that
your good energy pass into them, that God
will hold them in peace and their suffering
will diminish, thank you God, for however
long that is possible while you hold your hands
on them, assisting them to stand,
your arms the strength they no longer have,
your shoulders their shoulders,
your hands their hands,
their mouths the one you feed,
and for that short space of time
you are one body and then you leave.
They may not remember even your name,
nurse is all; hey nurse, thank you,
you’re so pretty dear, they say, thank you,
and then out the door to the next person
with your vagabond love, your vagabond heart
that speaks to them with no words,
for you’re both wearing your vagabond heart
outside your chest, your knapsack on your shoulder,
you’re both traveling the same road,
breathing the same breath,
you’re both doing the same exact thing,
riding each minute to the next,
on the long train tracks of breathing,
the smoke stack of time puffing on the clock
on the wall to the next minute, and the next
and for this moment while they look at you
and you look at them holding their hand
to say good-bye you know you’ve both
known each other forever and you’ll meet again
even if the next second their eyes cloud over
and this moment is past, they’ve gone on the train
to their next minute, someone in their memory
is calling them back, here Pearl, will you look at this,
and you shut the door, hold it closely
with both hands so it won’t slam shut,
get in your car and drive away.