The hospital lobby was lined with short 
and long views of Audubon’s birds,
the tallest ones’ necks curved, all the way
down, to fit into the life-size space
of the double octave. When I got upstairs
to my love’s brother’s door, the curtain
was partly open, he was sitting up
on the raised bed, back in the corner
of the room, as if almost outside
the scene, at the edge of a clearing, his face
nearly empty of expression, except for 
endurance and absence of hope. He was in pain
all the time now. His eyes were wide-open,
like the eyes of someone shocked—but not
the emotion of shock, but the matter of it—
and, with his round glasses and long
neck, he looked a little like a secretary bird,
backed up into a small enclosure.