A woodcut by Aoki Shukuya, 1772
From Kaishi Hen (Analysis of Cadavers)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
You have opened up my heart
and now sponge mop the rivets of red blood
And count each sponge as testimony to the pain.
You had talked of a bypass
exits and egress, yield
I imagine a busy expressway whirling around all of St. Louis
up to Chicago and down to Memphis
I wonder about the space in my chest.
The counting and the keeping of score
continues into the darkest hours of morning.
I wake up breathing
and know that this pain was not true love
JUDY SCHAEFER, RNC, MA has edited and published several anthologies, including Wild Onion Nurse, a collection of 25 years of her own poetry in a college of medicine literary journal (Radcliffe, Oxford & New York, 2010) and The Poetry of Nursing, the pioneering biography/autobiography of 14 nurse poets (Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, 2006). In 1995 she co-edited the first international collection of creative writing by nurses Between the Heartbeats (U of Iowa P, 1995). As an author and teacher she has lectured in the USA and abroad. She is also the poetry co-editor of Pulse. Visit her on Facebook or Linkedin.