Lying on the floor with his stethoscope
he’s listening to the sounds of the giant,
the wheezes and rhythmic thrummings,
the crepitations from deep within its bowels.
The organs of the leviathan murmur
in all their separate compartments.
Beneath the Marley, lurking in the subways,
dodging staff and patients, there are ghosts.
They congregate for a fag outside the lift
machinery room, play hide and seek inside
the sub-station, take turns to slide the ducts.
Their real business is something other.
They orchestrate the engine of the hospital,
the xylophone of its spinal corridors,
the bruit of its wings and arteries,
the pulse of arrivals and departures.
He’s lying on the floor with his stethoscope,
listening to something beyond the individual,
the peculiar harmony of the whole machine,
though colleagues question his unorthodox approach.