Kelley White

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I take her home, knowing the cancer’s metastatic

After the long night in the emergency room
my mother’s left leg jumps, then the right arm—
just a little spasm, while we’re waiting for the nurse

to take out the IV. Or a seizure. I step outside"‘Nurse,
please, we. . ." No answer,"‘please. . "’ No answer. The room
is cold. The twitches continue, leg, arm, leg, arm,

and they hurt, my mother winces, moans, I stretch my arm
to pull the call cord. Nine more twitches. An angry nurse
answers "you’re not the only patients in this room."

I’m disarmed, there’s no room to nurse a grudge here. 


Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.