awakening, Being a nurse, Being a poet, creative non-fiction, Essays, Personal Experiences

Happy Nurses Week

I wrote this poem in April, while taking part in NaPoWriMo 2018,  in examen of two different supposed dichotomous “identities” of my life: being a poet and being a nurse. For most of my time in healthcare, I’ve never felt like I could have a tender poet-side AND be strong nurse. I’ve felt silly for having a side that wasn’t evidenced-based or life-saving or practical. But lately, I have come to know that the most hidden, most tender parts about a person are also the parts that make them brilliant at what they do, and help them be present to the people they care for. The tender and hidden parts are the parts that whisper for you to pause in what could be a life changing moment. I have seen those parts shine through on the faces, in the hearts, and within the actions of the nurses I have worked alongside during my nearly eleven years being a nurse.  So guess what guys, you are all poets and you didn’t know it! Or maybe you do know and you embrace it.  That would be even better…..

On Being A Nurse

Eyes in the interstitial

Holding space for the untouchable

Fine tuning intuition with what lives and breaths

See, hear, smell, palpate, seek

Peer into physiology

All senses keening

Flourish the world with healing.

Intuit the liminal

Hold space for the unnamble

See. Hear. Smell. Palpate. Seek

Peering onto the world’s underbelly

All senses keening

Flourish the world with prophecy


Our (optional, as always) prompt for the day is taken from one of the prompts that Kwoya Fagin Maples suggests in here interview: a poem that addresses the future, answering the questions “What does y(our) future provide? What is your future state of mind? If you are a citizen of the “union” that is your body, what is your future “state of the union” address?”

“Everything means something” she said, pen pausing long enough for her to speak. She looked at me over a pair of reading glasses and a legal pad. The light from the tiffany desk lamp to her left, gleamed yellow across her lap, illuminating the legal pad and her nails as she wrote. She’d offered to review my dreams with me and was writing the details down as I spoke

I’d paused, and hesitated over a detail, deciding out loud whether or not I should include it in the retelling of this dream

I’d been coming weekly for a couple of months

And the more I spoke, the more I realized that I understood quite a lot and quite a little of myself

Without aggrandizing my own state of mind too much, I’ll tell you that delving into your own mind is like a competent sailor plunging into the depths of his beloved sea

On the surface he understands the waves and the wind and the nautical relation from one shore to the next. He can reasonably predict the response of his ship in the presence of any given weather scenario, the strength of his sails, the direction of his vessel and himself according to the map of stars that unfold when night descends

But outside of the bones of his ship, outside  the boughs and the sails, no sextant, no compass, alone in the cold sea water, pale body floating and bobbing at the surface, miles and miles of deep blue below him, he is alone, and entirely new way to navigate will be imagined

His body and mind, the only tools

So I described the tiny detail in the dream that I’d almost skipped over, and she nodded as she wrote, the tip of the cap of her pen bending in air, dipping and tipping, giving ink-shape to the details of my dreams

And as I heard myself speaking, heard my voice giving sound to the details of my dreams, I saw a white and iridescent little fish with the scrunched up face of monster, swim by

2017, action healing, awakening, Being a nurse, Being a poet, Fear, Growth, NaPoWriMo, NaPoWriMo2018, Personal Experiences, seeking, signs, summer, the color of moments, vignettes

NaPoWriMo Day Eleven: The State Of The Union Of Body And Mind