Today's poem is by Janice N. Harrington

The Divider

Drop the thermometer in its dough.
Undo the cuff. Remove the gauze and alcohol.
Take off the stethoscope. Return the cart,
the medical chart, the syringes, and the cellophane.
Drain the humidifier. Wind the call light's string.
Scour the bedpan and the emesis basin.
Straighten the nightstand and rid the drawers
of Kleenex, buttermints, sour-apple swabs,
the false-teeth cleanser, the socks, the salves,
the ointment, and the Christmas card.
Clean the cup, the pitcher, and the tray.
Later, take the personal belongings away or
give them to someone. Strip the mattress pad
and sheets. Sterilize the bed frame's metal
skeleton. Do all this—but for now just close
its scrim around the bed, draw the divider, leave.

Copyright © 2011 Janice N. Harrington All rights reserved
from The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home
BOA Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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