A visit from The Healing Muse: 'Intensive Care'
Deirdre Neilen, PhD, shares a selection from Upstate‘s literary journal, “The Healing Muse,” every Sunday on “HealthLink on Air.” Neilen is the editor of the annual publication featuring fiction, poetry, essays and visual art focused on themes of medicine, illness, disability and healing. Read The Healing Muse Cafe Blog.
Today‘s selection is "Intensive Care" by Kristen Taleen. Order your copy of “The Healing Muse” today.
Deirdre Neilen, PhD: Kristen Taleen sends us a searing glimpse into her life as a young intensive-care nurse in her poem called "Intensive Care."
I hold your mother's grief in my chest
like smoke that i cannot exhale.
Her tears blur my vision
and i realize that i have no one to pray to
so i borrow her God.
If she were here, she would tell me
that you were born in the back of a taxi
23 years ago,
and that you held her hand crossing the street
until you were 13 years old.
She would tell me about your bedroom
untouched since you moved out in the spring
in case you ever wanted to come home.
Instead, her guilt lines my stomach
and rises in my throat like bile
as i sit by your bed in silence
wishing that i knew the language of your lullabies.
I have never been anyone's mother
but I have walked to the edge of the world enough times
to know how to keep your body warm
as she drives twice the speed limit
and arrives two minutes too late.