Monday Morning

Shafer, Audrey

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poetry

Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
  • Date of entry: Jan-13-2005
  • Last revised: Oct-06-2015


The poet, an anesthesiologlist and mother, describes her early morning departure from home as she prepares to begin her professional day, leaving behind her little son and the physical and emotional warmth of their relationship. After arriving at work, she readies the operating suite for her first patient, taking pleasure in "the rote motions," noting that "all is bright pristine ordered."Having made the transition from home to work she tries to remember her son’s "just-awakened warmth." The poem ends with the arrival of her patient, who is naked and ready to be put to sleep (anesthetized), inverting the opening image of her sleepy, naked child and their leave-taking.


This poem evokes beautifully the interplay, continuity and discontinuities of family and professional life. This is a mother who relishes both motherhood and physicianhood. She regrets parting from her child but enjoys her professional activities. She tries to keep her family alive within her while she works but she is not guilt-ridden. An unusual view and insight into the lives of mothers who are also professionals. It would be interesting to pair this poem with Kirsten Emmott’s poem, "Who Looks After Your Kids?" from the collection, How Do You Feel? (annotated in this database).


First Published: 1992 (Ann. Int. Med. 117:167)

Primary Source

Blood & Bone: Poems by Physicians


Univ. of Iowa Press

Place Published

Iowa City, Iowa




Angela Belli & Jack Coulehan