Waiting for his taxi in reception,
weighing up the signs,
he thinks about the hospital as a body
made of all the different bodies
he’s seen treated here, including his.
Upstairs are the Private Parts,
where he had his waterworks
examined by cystoscopy.
Just thinking of it
makes him desperate for a pee.
Next door on the ground floor is the Leg
–though he can’t remember if it’s right or left—
the fracture clinic where Ken had his broken tibia
(or was it fibula?) put right.
Down the passage on the other side
is the Head, where dozens queue everyday
to see the ophthalmologists as best they can.
He’s stared back at many an unknown watcher
on the wrong end of a telescope,
with someone squeezing chilli in his eye.
The Arms are the maternity unit
where Julie gave birth
to his grandaughter in a bath.
He wasn’t allowed in, until, on the final push,
Ken had somehow slipped and broke his leg.
So Granddad was the first to hold Charlize Pascal
now known as Tommi, while they got her dad
disentangled from her mum and the umbilical cord.
He navigates the hospital by body parts
and sits now in the Mouth
with a cup of tea from the WRVS.
He imagines leaving with a giant’s gentle kiss.