Two poems by Ross Wilson


    Vital Organs


ICU, Easter, 2020


An outsider looking in might imagine
they were seeing the interior of a space ship;
ventilators, dialysis machines, monitors
surrounded a station full of computers
and strange-looking creatures,
indistinguishable from one another.

In gowns, masks, goggles and gloves
with only a scribble like a tattoo above
the heart to tell who was who and what part
they played in a war against an invisible enemy
on a battlefield set up to monitor and measure
heart rate, oxygen levels, blood pressure.

They moved around proned bodies
as if they themselves were one body.
Seven surrounded a bed,
three down either flank, one at the head
like a Captain turning a wheel
while talking a crew through a maneuver.

One dropped an Actichlor tablet into a bucket
and screwed a mop-head to a pole like a bayonet.
Another wheeled a dirty linen hamper.
One does obs. Two made up drugs.
Another set up a trolley for intubation.
One spoke to a visitor via Zoom.

An insider looking in wouldn’t know a porter
from a doctor, a domestic from a nurse.
Amid machines bleeping and flashing,
staff in aprons and gowns like layers of skin
worked as vital organs: each had a function;
they did one job so other jobs could be done.


    Day & Night


That day we went puddle-hunting in our wellies.
Whenever we caught a good one, we jumped in
to see if it hid a big splash or a wee splash.

Back home I found Ticklies nesting in your oxters:
wee birdies who feed fledglings on toddler-giggles!
Then it was sleepy-time for you; work-time for me.

That night, in full PPE, I was sent for a body bag
and went behind curtains drawn on a man's last day.


Ross Wilson

About Ross Wilson

Ross Wilson works full-time as an Auxiliary Nurse in Glasgow. His first collection, 'Line Drawing' (Smokestack Books), was shortlisted for the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year in 2019.