They glued a yellow ribbon
to a plastic pink egg
and hung it on Millie’s door
as a beacon, so she won’t get lost
in long, white mazes of sameness.
Still, Millie floats down the halls
in her dirty blue slippers.
She sneaks up behind nurses.
She bothers the visitors.
Her hair is long and knotty white.
Her pale fingers peck the hem
of a thin gown, buttoned wrong.
One long, heavy breast hangs out.
She is looking for the drawer
where those witches have hidden
her baby boy–among old papers,
behind tubes and wires, maybe
inside the brown bottles of pills.
Here, Millie. Let’s go find your room.
See your pink egg? That’s a good girl.
She’s not good, damnit.
And she’s not stupid.
She’s not a puppy to be called.
She doesn’t need an egg
to tell her to go to hell.
This is not her room.
It is a stranger’s womb, a sallow
sinking of wet concrete walls
where she swims in a thick elixir
of piss stale breath, surfacing
in moments that open, then close.
She wants to slap the nurses
and the skinny old man
who rocks back and forth
over the bed, calling her Mama,
pulling stiff sheets to her chin.
She wants to grow tall enough
to reach the egg on the door.
She will tear it down.
She will crack it open
and find her baby boy inside.
She will wrap him in her
soft red checked shawl.
They will sail off the edge
of this flat white world
in a dirty blue slipper,
and that damned pink tomb
will never hold them again.