Phoenix turns the bedsheets back each noontime
ready for the patients to get in
should the afternoon make them too tired —
Clozaril and Depakote can make you very tired.

Phoenix turns the bedsheets back each noontime —
sky-blue blankets grasped by golden talons
and is that an emerald ring, burning from her talon?
Like indigestion from cold canteen food.

Phoenix, with her platinum cockatoo crest
———— neon jumpsuit bird, her wingspan spread
like a posing prima donna, she sings a cappella — folding
bedsheets over broken, empty beds.

For even on those broken, vacant beds
in bedrooms where the furniture’s all smashed
———— that need a carpenter before new patients
are admitted — bedsheets get disarranged;

the nurses don’t know how, but the Phoenix,
who works in times present, past and future,
makes those beds each morning
and at noon turns them back.

Nurses like to reminisce outside
the bedrooms were she’s working, saying I
remember when this room was such and such’s —
sweet. But used to grab and not let go;

Before that, this bed belonged to X,
Who came before him? I can’t remember —
Phoenix though, flame-feathered and circling
the smells of detergent and bad feet;

Phoenix though, whose singing voice is just a touch too shrill,
——–singing Onward Christian soldiers — Hare Rama Rama —

Phoenix though, would share her memories gladly,
if they asked her

like footage of the seaside sea played backwards
restoring castles, kid’s names, lovers hearts.



Stuart Charlesworth reads Bedsheet phoenix song