Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives


Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives


Article excerpt

In Room 28, an old woman perches on her bed

stiff with fear. She licks crooked, gold-filled teeth,

spews Spanish words of sorrow that fall like tears.

I hold out my hands like sieves dripping syllables, say

No comprendo. Ah, she makes the sign of the cross.

Her long fingers reach for mine.

She smiles around my tentative use of dolor and las flores,

words spoken on this dusky evening eventual night will extinguish.

She enriches me - reveals me to myself growing in a dawn garden

where zinnias reach for the sun with mariachi arms, where

clicking beetles make music far sweeter than excuses of language

blooming, then fading, in our hands.

I breathe in this gift of recognition

from a bent-over woman whose heart bursts

with words needing no voice, spilling

from her eyes into mine, dancing now

beneath our fingers, affirming that we are kin,

breath of feathers on my arm, whispers in my soul.

The memory of the elderly Hispanic woman's shining eyes and her touch stayed with me for weeks. So did her smile. I wrote this poem to remember the special feelings I had when I thought about her. And to remind me of the connections we all want to make with our patients - connections of caring, respect, and service. * Writing this poem was an affirmation of something I have long believed and seen: we are all connected, whether or not we share the same language. …

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