Thursday, 15 December 2022 09:25

In solidarity with the people: The Truth About Nurses

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in Poetry
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In solidarity with the people: The Truth About Nurses

The Truth About Nurses

by Sally Flint

It's true – when someone dies
on the ward a nurse lays

the body out, straightens the fingers,
removes the saline drip and wipes away

the spurt of blood. She repacks wounds,
replaces teeth, and sets the jaw.

After washing the waxen skin,
if there's no next of kin, that nurse

may place on the forehead a kiss.
It's sometimes true, if time allows,

the nurse is sent to observe
a child being born, and she will find

some comfort in seeing oxygen deliver
colour into the veins of tiny arms, flailing,

like wings. It's true, some nurses finish
their shift, crouch silent in a corner

of the changing room, then rush
home to hug their own children.

It's also true nurses hold
babies who never draw breath.

Read 1460 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 December 2022 09:47
Sally Flint

Sally Flint lectures in creative writing and co-edits Riptide Journal at the University of Exeter, and is a tutor with The Poetry School.

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