This pocket-sized book contains stories from the home front--poems about patients the nurse-author tends in their apartments and in her clinic. Often, the patients speak, teaching us not only what it's like to be elderly and lonely, but also how to view mainstream healthcare from a different perspective.

Most important, we learn about the courage with which these patients cope with illness and poverty, and how nurses honor their patients' choices through non-judgmental caring. Outstanding poems include "The Language of Hearts," "Passages," "Lower Midline Surgical Scar," "The Screamer in Room 4," and "Home Remedies for the Blues."


In "Nurses," the author asks "Do you face the dark because you trust in light? / Or is it that you've come to terms with night?" This double thread of spirituality and stark reality weaves through poems which are narrative and plain spoken, yet wonderfully metaphoric--they turn our perception of the traditional healthcare world upside down.

In "Passages," a nurse cares for the terminally ill wife of a gynecologist. When the nurse enters the sickroom, the doctor asks why it took her so long, then adds "There's nobody with her but me," a line that reflects what illness does to both patients and caregivers: strips us of our defined roles and forces us to rely upon others.

In "Phone Call to Edward," a patient phones from the Emergency Room, where she's short of breath with "tubes all in me" and "oxen on." Her concerns are not what her practitioners might expect--insurance, family support, or even survival--but what's important to her: that the money is hidden, the electric paid, and that Edward stays home because the fare to the hospital is too expensive. Seasoned practitioners and students alike will learn from, and enjoy, these poems.


The third section of this collection is a selection of poems from the author's first book, Just Who, published in 1993 by Crossroad Health Ministry, Inc. Sage Femme Press's address: PO Box 32124, Washington, DC 20007.


Sage Femme Press

Place Published

Washington, D.C.



Page Count