13 Jun Mercy
And what about that winter night in Hartford
when a mother brought two kids
to the hospital, afraid she’d hurt them?
Something ticked her off, whatever the resident
said just made her madder:
Give me my kids I don’t need this
I can take care of them.
A nurse shoulders us
out of the way, puts her arm around her,
walks her down the hall, speaking
softly: You must be so tired you’ve done
such a good job I know you haven’t slept
go home now get a night’s rest your kids
are fine they’ll be here when you wake up.
The woman cries and talks to her, leaves
alone. I think, wow, that’s how it’s done.
Yesterday, I was teaching some med students
about reporting child abuse and I wondered
what happened to that mother, did the system
show her mercy or did she lose those kids
for asking a hospital for help?
“Mercy” won a contest sponsored by the journal Hospital Drive on the theme, “decisions.”
First published in Hospital Drive, October, 2017.