The Infirmary

(a dream)

At the infirmary
she received that long awaited relief
from a needle
a serum that kills
all pain
to one small injection
barely noticeable


walking slow
she still felt the heat
of that cooling shot
promising not pain
this time
but gain
a quiet rest
of nothingness
until her feet hit


the door she had closed
gaped wide open
and lying
on that old bed
(the one she had sold)
was that old accusation

his smile

so sweet
it sliced open
her half-healed heart
still feeling the flame
not of love but his need
to bleed
a simple wish into utter exhaustion
feeding her regret
of having tried yet again
of having pushed too hard
yet not enough
for that sigh
or that tear
streaming into many tears
for no reason
(yet every reason)


old and cold
and told
to stop feeling


and slipping back
into her numbness burning
with every plea for reason
drowned out
by tight lips licking
its own damn injuries
and smacking her tongue for wanting
warmth instead of wounds
but this time

she saw

a prisoner in a small grey cell
quite smug and so stuck in his hell
not able to escape
his own deep wound
to shift
the blame


she showed him
the keys in his hand
and how she could never free him
and suddenly
his stubbornness fell
on deaf ears and red eyes saw
those keys in stiff fingers
bent to be right
and unbending
steel bars
reflecting that old smile
slicing his own heart
as she turned
toward that infirmary
with a new will to live

but how?

she’s been dead far too long
the damage done
the injection
suicide serum searing
through her matted weave of madness
feeling helpless again
against his words
trailing behind her
waking memories of that sweet smile
that sliced open her half-healed heart
still pumping
strains of death
through weakened veins
at the cost of life

what life?

her life
her life wanting
not his old cell flashing new paint
not his boney fingers’ rusty keys
not his arid breath impaired by booze
not his words bereft of feeling but full of fault-finding
not his smile incapable of soothing
not his heart full of harshness and regret
not his cold touch grabbing for hot love-
defensiveness his only guard
there in that old bed
(the one she had sold)
remains his old
cold smile
so sweet
it flees
once again
failing to lift or leave
its own dead weight

so she turned

toward life
toward that infirmary to reverse the curse
to be healed of the error
the arrow bringing death
a slow dying
that now begs to live


at what cost?

what is the cost of life
and who must pay it?
a girl grown down
toward the ground
cold and old
and muddy


turned wrong
now aiming to turn right
to reverse this night
and to live a little more

and right
this time

she awoke
without a sequel to her dream
yet knowing
it could never be
years turned round
or down
or some infirmary with death
or life serums
in syringes

she was

reminded of that One

true love still calling
the dead
from their dying


Petra O. Hefner

A still small voice spake unto me,
“Thou art so full of misery,
Were it not better not to be?”

A second voice was at mine ear,
A little whisper silver-clear,
A murmur, “Be of better cheer”

So heavenly-toned, that in that hour
From out my sullen heart a power
Broke, like the rainbow from the shower

-Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1842)

The Poet

not seeing
but touched
by vacant stares
and birthing yet another child
begging to write about your pitch
cold days and lit up nights
’tis subtle apathy
that smiles
than the screams
that no one hears except
his pen
which stabs again
and again the spleen
and starts the fight
that no one

in and out
his pen does stab
to stop the bleeding
hold fast
don’t freeze
love needs
to need
one who feels
and has felt
the hell that melts
the molten
still dying
and birthing
yet another

Petra O. Hefner

“There is nothing harder than the softness of indifference.” Juan Montalvo


Dry Lips

Those who advocate truth
may not be free
to speak
but bloated
steeped in honey-dipped verbosity
and bound
by their own rightness
having lost not self
(as was hoped)
but the keys
while making love
hate all
to what the fingers of the little will
must hold onto
too tightly
too willfully
too accurately too
that even the days drop
denser shadows
darker even
than black
oil slicks
into moonless nights
glossy as true light
yet reflecting nothing
but their own spry spittle
no longer warm and tender
like the first morning
growing life
out of dust
and love
out of wrath
to confuse the night
and to condemn
but not these
bent reeds
and smold’ring wicks
quenched and crushed
by words
not sent by Him
flameless flames speaking
so shamelessly sharp
that their hearers’ ears are left to lie
severed and bleeding
on the side of life
growing deaf and blind
and dry
without any
tenderness to hush
and to comprehend whatsoever
is honorable and true
righteous and pure
of glory
and much


that I would
and meditate
on these


Petra O. Hefner

“Truth lies in character. Christ did not simply speak the truth; he was truth; truth, through and through…” – Frederick W. Robertson

“I would rather play with forked lightning… than speak a reckless word against any servant of Christ, or idly repeat the slanderous darts which thousands of Christian are hurling on others.” – A.B. Simpson