There was a man in PICU who didn’t say a word.
He paced around in his underwear flinching at all he heard.
He went out for a smoke with a coffee in his hand,
then marched back inside for medication on demand.
* * *
(This was about a month I spent living with a mute patient amongst others at a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit when I was 16. He had a tattoo of a small cross on his leg and I tried to shoehorn the blaspheme ‘Jesus!’ into something I said within his earshot. He was in his own world until I did. He got up from the chair and marched around for a bit. I felt bad for deliberately offending him but I’d never seen him react to anything other than smokes and coffee. I guess I was just trying to get him to say something… It didn’t work.)