[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 54.211.168.204. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Citations 0
Poetry and Medicine
June 18, 2003

Cleaning Up the Women's Health Center

Author Affiliations
 

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(23):3056. doi:10.1001/jama.289.23.3056

When the last one leaves I autoclave
curettes and specula, lock
away the files and watch Juana,
the maid who fled Salvador
when, inside some shack,
they disappeared her brother.
Displaced herself, she lives by picking up
for us and putting things, dusted, back
or someplace better. Beside
the motor's hum she waves the vacuum
wand in every corner, sucking up
along with this day's dirt,
the gum foil, and wet tissue wads
some stunned girl left behind.
The family planning scraps and follow-up
advice she stuffs in plastic bags
if not exactly trash is merely matter
not wanted where it was on Friday afternoon.
Once the man comes by to take
the sealed and shackled box marked
DANGER: BIOHAZARD WASTE,
I'll let her out, open up the shades,
triple bolt the door and leave the clinic empty
until next week.

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview
×