Cardio Poetic Resuscitation

The crowd at first thought it part of the reading
the gasp, the slumping forward over the podium
a bit melodramatic, but you expect that

surging forward, folding chairs flung to the side
they reached him, the first few able to cushion
his fall to the floor and they laid him on his back

shouts of ‘call 9-1-1!’ and ‘let me through!’
echoed throughout the small bookstore as a
woman pushed to the front ‘let me through!’

she was small, middle-aged; dishwater blonde
hair pulled back in a waist-length ponytail
stylish sunglasses were perched on her head

crouching down beside the stricken bard the
woman ripped open his shirt, felt his rib cage;
she took a deep breath, began CPR…and sang

“Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive…”
“Are you a doctor?” yelled one bystander
“Are you a nurse!?” said another

“No” she huffed between chest pumps, “I’m a poet”
Stunned, the onlookers could only watch in amazement
as the man’s face began to lose its pallor. Sirens approached…

“Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive…. Feel the city breakin’
and everybody shakin’ and we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive..”

Oxygen mask in place, the man was being wheeled to waiting
ambulance; the crowd applauded, he gave them a  ‘thumbs up’
with one hand, autographed a copy of his anthology with the other

The poet who had saved him was retying her ponytail while
wiping away the sweat from her forehead with a towel she had
been handed; everyone looked at her with curious awe

“You are wondering about the song; ‘Staying Alive’ has a rhythm
of 103 beats per minute which is close to the 100 compressions
per 60 seconds that should be delivered during CPR.”

Stunned, the crowd stood silently as the poet continued,
“In reality, most of the Bee Gees lyrics can be said in rhythmic
couplets that fit the standard CPR quatrains. Try ‘Night Fever’.”

The poet finished with her hair, picked up her shoulder bag
“Can the same thing work for giving someone the Heimlich?”
“No” she replied ruefully. “To Heimlich properly, you need Neruda.”

She slung her bag over her shoulder, and walked into the night

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *