by Bob Ward

Moored in our beds, a few in plaster boats,
   as long-term patients we observed routine.
With breakfast clear, daily at Sister’s nod
   the screens were pulled around each bed,
   beeps issued, whether you felt the urge
   to go, or in denial courted castor oil.
So mounted privately on chilly steel,
   you puckered up your stern resolve,
   thought hard of Nelson, while in parallel
   grunts and moans broadsiding from the crew
   amidships signalled battles being won.
Alone. That’s when Sister chose to call
   to hand out mail, solicit confidence,
   be personal as at no other time,
   (despite the whiff) play proxy mother/wife.
Duties done, the screens were drawn aside;
   we rigged our faces fit for public life.