In Fond Memory

a poem by Jan Oskar Hansen

The local hospital’s ear-nose and throat specialist Erickson
had a regular cold every three month
it lasted five days
and to avoid infecting anyone
he spent those days alone in a room in the basement,
but neighbours could hear him sing and his wife cry.
Some do gooders who said they knew about a cure got to him
and he went to meetings and quoted naive sayings
that decorate walls in those places.

When time for his cold neared
he got frantic
couldn’t rest
took sleeping draught,
too much,
the doctor, whom Erickson’s wife called said
he had died of a heart attack and put the empty phial in his pocket.
A splendid obituary:
“A great loss for the hospital and the town.”
Two years later I went there for a job interview asked the porter:
Remember Erickson?
Oh, him the drunk,
rumour has it that he drown in his own vomit.