Ruth Madievsky

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

and lived.

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.