An ode to the most coveted machine in pandemic America

My dad’s been coping by standing in the
garage for long stretches of time and staring
blankly out at the blank street staring back
at him. I wonder who wins the staring
match, but he never tells and he never reacts.
The computer drones on,
the pale blue light illuminating my father’s face,
carrying hushed voices discussing oxygen and converting
ventilators, which they have no more of.
The breath of life machines;

Machines that push push push your lungs,
pushing to keep the pair awake.
Quiet, they whisper,
I want to sleep, just as you do. And sleep
they do. Eventually, they’re lulled back
to sleep, the push push push a cradle song.
Though, first came the panic, the terrible
drowning, the negative pressure, the burn,
but then the life line, the feverish last attempt, the tube…

slowly, gradually, wistfully, trusting
push, push, push.
They whisper, a sunshine song
of waking up and detaching yourself from that life machine,
and leaving that sterile
cold, cold place.

Eleanor Python Colligan


Eleanor is a university student studying engineering and creative writing. She loves writing, and has not seen Bridgerton yet.

© 2021