by Irene McKinney

I remember a Sunday with the smell of food drifting
out the door of the cavernous kitchen, and my serious
teenage sister and her girlfriends Jean and Marybelle
standing on the bank above the dirt road in their
white sandals ready to walk to the country church
a mile away, and ready to return to the fried
chicken, green beans and ham, and fresh bread
spread on the table. The sun was bright and
their clean cotton dresses swirled as they turned.
I was a witness to it, and I assure you that it's true.

I remembered this thirty years later as I got
up from the hospital bed, favoring my right side
where something else had been removed.
Pushing a cart that held practically all of my
vital fluids, I made my way down the hall
because I wanted to stand up, for no reason.
I had no future plans, and I would never
found a movement nor understand the
simplest equation; I would never chair the
Department of Importance. Nevertheless,
I was about to embark on a third life, having
used up the first two, as I would this one,
but I shoved the IV with its sugars and tubes
steadily ahead of me, passing a frail man in a hospital
gown pushing his cart from the other direction.
Because I was determined to pull this together,
hooking this lifeline into the next one.

photo from:


  1. This is such an incredibly melancholy piece of writing. Astoundingly beautiful in it's sadness. The picture of the quilt is a beauty too, I often fantasise about having the patience to make a quilt, but it never gets past the poderation phase... thank you for the gentle morning.

  2. The little tender moments have to be remembered by someone. Even if that someone never becomes "Chair of the Department of Importance" their walk here has meaning and worth if for nothing else than that duty.

  3. You and I both know there is great purpose in that post operative walk. Those who do it are the ones who are driven by something deep within-a drive to get better and stronger. They will overcome great odds and pain to shake off the tethers of intravenous life lines so they can sit again at the Sunday dinner table.

  4. Lovely poem. And the quilt is stunning. Thank you.

  5. Having pleasant memories can be source of strength to get through a rough time. Thanks for the lovely short.


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