because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse


i think i am in love
with little plastic needles, sterile
blues, the arrogance
of early a.m. overhead
lighting; size 6 latex
gloves that know
the thrill of a one-
handed knot
in 2-0 silk, over
and under
and over again;
back pockets
stuffed with blunt scissors &
stethoscope & note-
cards that read
like a map through

the femoral nerve
courses laterally
to its artery as it passes
the triangle of Scarpa.
blood enters the liver
at 1500cc a minute,
mostly through the portal
vein, whose pressure
should not rise more than
5 millimeters of mercury
above the pressure
of other veins. neurogenic
claudication causes
pain on spinal flexion,
comes from central
locomotor stenosis.

other things too i
knew, that i would have
learned harder
had i thought they
could save you…

some nights
i miss those mornings,
sunless & taped
into narrow tubing
with adhesive
that still pulls,
even now.

25 responses

  1. dang…there is nice emotion running just under the surface of this one joanna…and knowing your background a bit as well adds all the more to the coulda woulda feel as well….love the art to go with this…is it from you journal?

    August 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    • thanks, b. it’s a photo of literally one of the notecard drawings i did & carried around with me to study from in spare moments.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm

  2. All my instincts say this is right on the edge of being a truly marvelous poem. The first few lines form a killer opening – and that changeover in the third stanza, amazing segue from the clinical into the emotional, an explanation for the opening. But there must be more, that wonderful opening and twist demand it… and if there isn’t, I feel that this is the opening poem to a chapbook that explores the entire backstory. Take it as an excellent sign that this reader wants more!

    August 8, 2012 at 12:24 am

    • wow, thanks, Samuel. i know you’re right, that there is something lacking here; i am not sure if it’s because i am not yet comfortable writing these things… and actually, i have been thinking of a new chap of “medical poems” to which this would do nicely as an opener.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:01 am

  3. an awesome poem…love how you go from the medical to the personal…
    other things too i
    knew, that i would have
    learned harder
    had i thought they
    could save you…… that’s the part that carries the most emotions for me here…excellently done

    August 8, 2012 at 5:44 am

    • thanks, claudia. always appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

      August 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

  4. Shea Atkin

    LOVE this.

    August 8, 2012 at 7:56 am

    • *smile* thanks, Shea

      August 8, 2012 at 10:41 am

  5. What I absolutely love about this is that it brings the reader into your thoughts (the sequence and content of) but doesn’t become so insular as to lose the reader. Great details, rang true, made me envious. Must be good art. Best wishes, Mosk

    August 8, 2012 at 10:23 am

    • thank ya, Mosk. 🙂

      August 8, 2012 at 10:55 am

  6. WOW! I felt myself swaying to the words as I read and then felt it immediately stop when I got to the part: other things too i
    knew, that i would have
    learned harder
    had i thought they
    could save you…
    and I thought, “OH NO!” and my back became a little hunched in compassion…WOW Joanna, WOW!

    August 8, 2012 at 11:37 am

    • aw, thanks darlin. you are too sweet, you know? 🙂

      August 9, 2012 at 9:44 am

  7. Emotional issues and personal truths used to create fine poetry

    August 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    • thanks, John, and for dropping by.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

  8. this is an almost excruciatingly beautiful write, really the best kind of writing (for me), the intimate knowledge of needles not quite hinting at what’s behind it, and then the heartbreak of learning something of the back story. a fearlessly and unemotionally written yet evoking deep feeling in the reader.

    other things too i
    knew, that i would have
    learned harder
    had i thought they
    could save you…

    oh yes, how I can relate to that!

    August 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    • appreciate your thoughts so much, Ruth. i am glad this one found a little resonance with you.

      love your gravatar image, by the way. is that a crane?

      August 9, 2012 at 9:46 am

      • it’s a great blue heron – thanks

        August 9, 2012 at 10:50 am

  9. I love the fullness of compassion that fills me as I read this. Wonderful!

    August 9, 2012 at 2:16 am

    • *bows slightly* thanks, Carl.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:47 am

  10. Beautifully constructed. The tension between the impersonal and the suddenly personal is skilfully managed and the poem is powerful and moving.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    • thanks so much, Dick. i appreciate your taking the time to comment.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:52 am

  11. This is brilliant.

    August 10, 2012 at 12:13 am

    • *blushes slightly* i don’t know about all that, but thank you, Edward. 🙂

      August 10, 2012 at 8:53 am

  12. Thoughtful for me now as I am now mother’s home hospice nurse 24/7. The time is short .

    August 28, 2012 at 10:00 am

    • i’m grieved to hear that, Carl. i hope these last times with her are a blessing to you both.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm


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