Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jennifer Jackson Berry: The Body Button

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

post-gunman, though

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.



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This entry was posted on February 6, 2017 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , .

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