A Short Walk – Ross Wilson

A Short Walk

The maternity ward is a short walk
from the ICU where I work
long shifts among lives in the balance
and visitors counting the breaths
of those unable to breathe for themselves.

As I walked out on my break one day
I thought of the rooms I cleaned
in hotels when I was young;
the arrivals and departures, the bus tours,
the never-ending revolving doors.

My reflection moved in a window
framing the Necropolis beyond its pane.
Then the atmosphere changed like a season;
the cold winter air I’d been breathing in
turned warm as spring in bloom.

A tiny finger curled my thumb.
I cradled a bundle of flesh and bone.
Where did she come from?
The obvious answer couldn’t explain
the lightness in my arms.

Or the heaviness in my head
as I returned to work, carrying
the weight of what I know:
the maternity ward is a short walk
from a long shift in ICU.

Ross Wilson works full-time as an Auxiliary Nurse in Glasgow.

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