Calico Dress

A needle draws its path through flesh.
A wound closes as drying blood seals the seam.
A pill is prescribed for the pain.
A hunger best unfed says, No, to the script.

The night closes in on monitorial beeps.
The bed bends so the sleepless reclines.
The bedside backpack contains the handmade doll for a niece.
Bruises that blue in the dark won’t be seen until morning.

Scrubs replace clothes cut from a body.
Eyes swollen with their namesake shading blur vision.
Heartbeat settles comfortably into the chest cavity.
Wheelchair ride to checkout, a hailed cab.

Near empty wallet halts the cab ride a mile from home.
The cabby delivers to front door off meter.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


This poem contains elements that are true to myself and true to another. It is a combined story poem.

An acquaintance who was in heroine recovery was prescribed opioids to kill the pain of a broken bone and bruises after getting mugged. He turned the pills down and took extra strength aspirin instead.

My element is the ride home from the ER in a cab with only $3 to my name and no cash in the house. I told the cabby to drop me off when the $3 was used up, which would have left me 7 blocks from my apartment. The driver was kind enough to turn the meter off and deliver me to the front door of my apartment building. Also, my backpack carried the doll for a friend’s daughter.

I sometimes debate with myself about appropriating other people’s stories into my poems and how I combine or stretch the truth of experience to write an interesting poem that expresses a truth. No one asks if Rumi’s writing is totally truthful. So the debate goes on.

Love & Light


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