First Nurse by Natalie Meisner

Poem title: First Nurse Poet name: Natalie Meisner Poem Begins: You will never forget her, your first nurse nor your first librarian one cupping the pieces of your falling body gently sticking them back together again, the other your mind. Have you said thanks, to whomever it was hot glued you together with a mouthful of kindness food or decency who gave you kindly bloodwork, results or a swift kick in the ass whatever it was you needed most? The one who saw all the oddity a human mind or body can offer & loved you anyway Your first nurse, do you remember, her touch of life & death blended in a frothy prescient cocktail for she knew you were not long for this earth nor was she, herself nor any of us Your first nurse knew all this as she laid hands upon you & so did your first librarian as she pushed the book across the desk Love them. Love them, I say! They who wade in and out of death every blessed day on our behalf & go eyeball to eyeball with mortality taking death’s measure the way most of us squeeze a loaf of bread at the store back in the mists of time when we still squeezed things in stores So if she comes to you, or he, (men of course can can nurse too & more should) with a bit of death clinging to their shoulder, fingertips or mind breath singed with fire be kind when the juices fly just love them as the tang of alcohol trying to erase where they have been stings your eyes If a shred of fresh flesh or knowledge clings to the elbow of a sweater worn thin like patience rolled sleeves, greased elbows, suds scrub rinse repeat Understand that spooning out sugar all day to help us get all this down down isn’t easy Not everyone has banked Enough of money of bread of milk & human kindness to breath their last words into the chest of a beloved & she knows this too our first nurse first librarian & loves us anyway End of poem. Credits: Copyright © Natalie Meisner Natalie Meisner is an award winning playwright, multi-genre author from the South Shore of Nova Scotia. She is also the current Poet Laureate of Calgary. Her work often deploys the power of comedy for social change. BADDIE ONE SHOE (Frontenac) is a collection of odes to renegade women who fight the powers that be with laughter. LEGISLATING LOVE: THE EVERETT KLIPPERT STORY (University of Calgary Press) illuminates the life the last Canadian to be jailed for homosexuality. Her play BOOM BABY about young maritimers working in the oil patch won both the Canadian National & the Alberta Playwriting Award. Her play SPEED DATING FOR SPERM DONORS (Playwright’s Canada Press) non-fiction book Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family (Fernwood) and children’s book My Mommy, My Mama My Brother & Me (Nimbus) are all based on the true story of a two-mom, biracial family finding community. Meisner is a wife and mom to two great boys and a full Professor in the Department of English at Mount Royal University where she works in the areas of creative writing, drama and gender/ sexuality studies. Facebook: Natalie Meisner • Twitter: @nataliemeisner • Instagram: natalie.meisner