Poetry Archive

Taking My Daughter to the ER

Standing in front of the mirror facing
my own wilted reflection I’m practicing
what to say to get you admitted to convince
the doctor both that you don’t want to live
and that your life is worth saving.
I make my list of evidence knowing that
it will probably not be enough, so in spite
of my exhaustion, my terror,
my extraordinary stage fright,
in spite of the fact that all I want
is to hold my child
until I know she is safe,
I work on my theatre.

Why is it that without hesitation,
we always go to the ER when our
bones splinter and break,
when there is strange or unusual pain,
or when our lungs clench like a fist?
We trust that we will be
mended or saved if we can be.
Today I bring you to the ER
hoping to convince someone
with the power to save you
that although your body is in tact
you are not                you are breaking
you are filled with strange
and unusual pain
and we must if we are
in the business
of mending and saving,
unfurl the child
who has herself
a fist.

Image by Robin Pierre

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Joan Kwon Glass, author of “How to Make Pancakes For a Dead Boy” (Harbor Editions, 2022,) was a finalist for the 2021 Subnivean Award, a finalist for the 2021 Lumiere Review Writing Contest & serves as Poet Laureate (2021-2025) for the city of Milford, CT. She is a biracial Korean American who holds a B.A. & M.A.T. from Smith College, is Poetry Co-Editor for West Trestle Review & Poetry Reader for Rogue Agent. Her poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in Kissing Dynamite, the Subnivean, trampset, Rust & Moth, Rattle, Mom Egg, SWWIM, Honey Literary, Lumiere Review, Lantern Review, Literary Mama, Barnstorm & others. Since 2018, Joan has been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize. She tweets @joanpglass & you may read her previously published work at www.joankwonglass.com.