Henri Cole

Here, all night, in locked Ward C, they arrive, 
like moist, limp hands tied fast to nothing. 
Asleep or awake, in the somber light 
of dream or nocturnal data-processing, 
life undeaths itself, as if it really were 
a limitless map of transparent blue lines 
leading us out of captivity, 
out of the masochistic desire 
to crush and be crushed in turn, 
and out of paranoid dissembling. 
Here, in the nightmare border country of overdoses—
where the worm’s mouth sucks 
and God, our Father, feeds the altar flame 
—my task is to give, empathize and love him.