The Day Nixon Died

by Philip F. Clark

I was in the hospital
the day Nixon died.
I remember thinking, 'Good.'
I was filled with thin red tubes,
like the red licorice strings 
of candy, as a child, I ate
nibbling like there was no
I watched the television news
of his death: the face of a man
I never liked because of the war.
But I was now in a war, to survive.
The body is such a simple thing;
take care of it or die. 
Nurses quietly crept in to ask,
"How do you feel?" I felt fine,
attended to, and for a while away
from anything but the urge in me
to get better. To get what was 
inside me, out: an empyema,
having grown its hard liquid 
in me like a stone. 
And so my blood was infused;
cool medicines resided 
in my veins, air-conditioning 
my blood with something
without pain. The stone subsided
day by day. "How do you feel?"
"I feel fine." 
Sleep was never constant;
someone in the other bed would moan, 
or late attending guests of the dead
would linger long past their time.
I watched nurses fret and doctors frown.
Day after day, the news droned.
"His legacy . . . " My legacy 
had yet to be. Blood is thicker 
than water they say. Not to me. 
I rose one day, the stitch in my 
side gone. The fever had crept
away. My sweat was dissipated,
and so I lifted out of the bed
and the sun was up. I watched
the last of the news. I felt fine.