A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Philip Terman?—you don’t know me.
I’m Patricia Lamb, Palliative care nurse.
Do you know what that means?
I work with patients who are dying.
And I received an odd request. You know
when some are dying they get a last wish?
Well this woman’s last wish—
I hope you don’t mind this strange call—
is—all her life she’s written poetry.
And now, her cancer has spread,
and she always wanted to know—I hope
you don’t mind—from someone—
I got your number from the university—
I asked about someone who could judge
what was good poetry—
and they gave me your number—
if her poetry is good.
If she would have been a real poet.
We’ll be moving her into hospice soon.
Might you mind looking at a few—
just a few—poems and tell her
if you think she was good enough?
That she would have made a good poet?
This morning she showed me a picture
she drew—many years ago, she said—
of a child—perhaps it was her?—writing
in the center of a round table
before a bouquet of flowers —roses I think—
That was what she’d have wanted
for the cover if she ever was able to have
a book of her own. A book of her own.
I remember her saying and then her face flushed
a little, and her eyes looked away.
So will you look at them
and let her know if she was a good poet?
It would mean so much to her.
Copyright 2017 Philip Terman.