You tear the paper packet open
and push your tongue inside.
Sugar meets the spurt of saliva.
It crusts and crumbles; a clear syrup
forms in the channels. Sweetness!
And yet prickly and dry as sand.
The husky voice of the respirator
sings torch songs to a chirping backbeat
of vital signs: O baby,
it croons, O if you only knew.
Huge cakes filled with honey-air
and flavored helium: happy birthday,
happy birthday, dear! This was on sale,
and that stirred an unfamiliar rasping
near the prostate. Birthday candles
of lithium burn a brilliant blue
in the pure oxygen of your room.
One slender needle will suffice
for cake and lung and balloon.
One long venomed stinger
protruding from an infected abdomen
(still jacking) will make you well:
everyone knows that poison
cut small enough will heal.
It's not that your hands are too weak,
dear: it's that the windows here
were never made to open.