Too early and unsteady
I walk slowly along the half-empty corridor.
My glasses steam as I breathe,
blotting out direction signs and leaving me
stranded in a boat without oars.
What has happened to me?
What has happened to the alert,
making a joke of my hearing,
proud of my lip reading, me?
I fumble my way to a receptionist.
She says something. I hesitate.
She points towards some chairs.
I sit, get up and go back. Sorry,
I say, I’m deaf. I won’t hear the call.
I think it must have worked.
A figure in grey
hospital uniform shuffles forward.
I follow him, hoping
this is the right thing to do.
We enter a smaller area.
The man speaks. I hesitate,
look towards the changing rooms.
He says something angry and points
to a hard, red plastic chair.
I’m out of my depth, sit hunched
and silent over my bag.
At a distance, a tough-looking youth,
in trench coat and thick black mask
removes it for a few seconds.
He says, They don’t understand.
The rope he’s swung towards me holds.
Thanking him I smile, hoping
he can see it in my eyes,
and scramble ashore;
the shreds of my identity holding hands.