JUNE 2015
CODE BLUE
by Gerry McFarland
for DJ

This summer evening,
In the city,
A saxophonist
In an open window

Lets loose across the flat
Wire-crossed rooftops
His long, blue note
Like a siren.

At the hospital,
Code blue,
A different kind of
Music, the wheels

Of the crash cart
Drum the floor,
Instruments clink
As if they were

Tuning up
In the metal drawers.
Then, afterward,
At the end

Of pulmonary function,
The end of measure,
Telemetry
Switched off,

When she pushes the crash cart
Back down
The gleaming hallway
Slowly to its place,

It’s like a pause,
A whole rest
Written into a kind of score,
Intentional,

The music in the silence
Between the notes.
But like music,
A new note always

Follows the interval:
Another patient,
The flourish
At change of shift,

What she carries
In the giant pockets
Of her scrubs—
Stethoscope, pen light

To measure consciousness,
Dressings for the wounds
She can see—she braces
At the station, adjusts

For the instrument,
To call the family,
Finish, taking a breath,
The last note of the code.


Gerry McFarland is a co-editor at Floating Bridge
Press in Seattle, and teaches psychology, human
service, and writing at University of Phoenix. His
work has appeared in Contemporary American
Voices, Bayou, Crab Creek Review, Crucible,
Limestone, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary
Poetry, Sanscrit, and Zyzzyva, among others. He
was a finalist in the 2014 december Jeff Marks
Memorial Poetry Prize, and his chapbook, Gunner,
this year was a finalist in the Grayson Chapbook
Award and Frost Place Chapbook Competition.
SECOND
PLACE
GeminiMAGAZINE
2015
POETRY
OPEN
$100 PRIZE