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Beda Higgins, Nurse

One wayward cell suggests a mutiny,

before you know it, they are telling you

what will happen, and that it won’t go away.

You shake and leave to live on the edge,

teetering in the mouth of a volcano.

On TV there is war. A building collapses.

It is very dark. Rescuers wear masks

so they aren’t infected. You envy them.

You lie with your ear pressed to the ground

head idling grass. You ignore planes soaring,

dogs yapping, an ambulance screaming blue panic,

and listen to the earth groan gentle on its axis.

There is comfort in the silence of earthworms.


Both REBELLION and LAST THOW OF THE DICE [also in These Are The Hands] are my perception from watching the reactions of patients after they had received the news that they have a serious diagnosis. I’ve tried to articulate their feelings and include details of how the patients went through different stages, which seemed similar to the five stages of grief.

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