This small chapbook consists of six relatively long poems, all dealing with the experience of nursing. "What the Nurse Likes" presents striking images and juxtapositions that turn ordinary actions into mysterious aspects of healing. In "Becoming the Patient" Cortney Davis, who is "tired of being the nurse," empathetically identifies with her patient.

"The Body Flute" sings of the body itself, "I go on loving the flesh / after you die." The nurse works with the visible parts of the body--touches, washes, inserts, and smoothes--during life and death. "At death," she concludes, "you become wholly mine."


These poems evoke the sensuous body language of nursing. They celebrate the experience of caring, rather than the hope of curing. For more poems by nurses, see Cortney Davis and Judy Schaefer (Eds.), Between the Heartbeats: Poetry and Prose by Nurses, in this database. "What the Nurse Likes" and "The Body Flute" also appear in this collection. For an interesting comparison of work by nurse-poets and physician-poets, see Davis, C., Poetry about patients: Hearing the nurse’s voice. J. Med. Humanities. 18: 111-125 (1997).



Place Published

Easthampton, Mass.



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