Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blood toads

We deliver babies here
In a spew of blood and amniotic fluid
That splashes on our feet
Seeps into our cuts and crevices
And does daily battle with immunoglobulins
Yet the worry of contracting Hep B or HIV
Does not seem to worry the blood toads
Fat amphibians of the labour cot drain hole
Whose eyes shine at the most recent surge
Of human fluid.

Will today bring a rare gush of O Negative blood?
Will it send them scampering over the floor?
Student nurses in vain set after them
Scattering carefully stacked urine sample bottles
And a patient’s husband rushes to Salem
To buy injections that cost him two months earnings.

At night the new mother dreams
Expensive Anti D Ig courses her veins
Tiny lips suckle her breast
A multitude of pale green toads
Spawn nourished on her blood
Invade the ward hungry for more
A fresh red river flows from her uterus
Which is lax in terror.
She awakes screaming.

The junior night duty nurse runs
She awakens a thin tired doctor
The patient is shifted to the labour cot
Methergine soon flows into her veins
The now contracting uterus
Pushes out a kidney tray full of blood
Half a litre of gelatinous clots
More nourishment for the blood toads.