A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
for my sister, Julia
I have no way of knowing
how many times
she’s hit her body button—
it’s how she calls for help
when the patient’s fists are closer
and closer to her face,
or when she’s already down,
begging for the once quiet
hallway to be heavy with other
nurses grunting, security officers
lifting a patient off her.
She’s been exposed
to HIV and Hep C—it’s the risk—
and to blood-stained carpets
she was spared that shift.
She told the reporter:
We thought this could happen.
I hate that I know this happens.
Note: A man entered the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh shortly before 2:00 p.m. on March 8, 2012, armed with two semiautomatic handguns and started firing. He injured seven people and killed Michael Schaab, a therapist who worked with elderly patients.
Copyright 2017 Jennifer Jackson Berry
Jennifer Jackson Berry’s The Feeder is available from YesYes Books.