The flight was cancelled. The Ativan failed.
My grandmother got cancer.
I wore a white coat, a pharmacy badge. My patient
went into cardiac arrest
His ventilator. My notebook. I fell asleep
and awoke with no shadow.
I threw out twenty pairs of underwear.
I thought, I deserve better than this.
It was my birthday. It was a taco.
I split my Ativan with my grandmother. She couldn’t
get out of the pool. I massaged her feet.
I flew through the dashboard of something
very much like my sanity. I flew
into medicated sleep.
Her mind was a hinge and her body
impatient. My patients were impatient. We talked
about blood cells a lot. A man
on the street
told me to wear shorter skirts. I ran
out of a dive bar. I ran out of grandmother
to call my grandmother.
In this version, the hospice nurse doesn’t
avoid eye contact in the elevator. In this version,
the hospital spits me out,
and I return, my heels bloody,
my white coat triumphant.
Ruth Madievsky is the author of a poetry collection, Emergency Brake, which was named Tavern Books’ 2015 Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series selection and was published in February 2016. Ruth’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, ZYZZYVA, Rattle, and elsewhere. She was a 2015 Tin House scholar in poetry and reads chapbook submissions for Gold Line Press. She is originally from Moldova and lives in Los Angeles, where she is a doctoral student at USC’s School of Pharmacy. You can find her at ruthmadievsky.com.