resident evil

Posted: April 3, 2010 in Uncategorized


i was six, and i had
an infection of my
urinary tract. my pee
was brown. i felt awful.
they kept me in the
children’s ward for a month.
they were worried about
metastasis. my mom
explained it as

if the infection can move
you cannot until
the doctors stop it.

a girl slept on the bed
next to mine. she was isabel.
she had tubes in her nose,
in her mouth,
on her arms,
on her stomach. i loved her
and she loved me.
even though it was bad
she wanted the infection
to stay so i’d stay with her.
even though it was bad
i wanted it too.

i would sneak across
and turn her when the
nurses refused to come.
i would kiss her cheek
and promise to stay.

after three weeks, my pee
turned clear-yellow like
afternoon sunshine
outside the ward’s window.
i missed playing
and she cried. she couldn’t
come play because of tubes.
i told her one day
i’d come and i’d put a flower
in her hair
and we’d play in the sun.

she blinked and
her face was wet. when
i walked out she wouldn’t
look at me.


every week (i counted)
i would tell my mom
“i want to go see isabel!”
and my mom said that
isabel has a family and
though it was nice to
be friendly,
visiting her would
be depressing…
i did not understand.
okay i did. i didn’t
WANT to understand.

at 12 i called isabel, and
they said she moved.
i asked for help and
they said it would violate
her privacy to tell anything.
i remembered every spring
in the park, lying on a quilt,
my trainer towards the sky.
isabel. i’ll find you.

when i turned 14 we
needed to complete 140
hours of community service
so sunnydale terrace became
my second home for fridays
there was a loud girl,
and she hated the RN
(because the RN was a bitch).
and she hated peas.
but the RN would ensure
she had peas at dinner!

i saw her face, and
without tubes she was
waaaaaay cute. no one
still liked turning her.
i did it. i kissed isabel.
she turned really red
and i thought something
bad was happening but
she told me
she was blushing.

friday after friday —
good fridays — i would
bring her pictures of beaches
and parks and nature.
i got a B in biology and
i would explain ecosystems
to her. i used poetry
for the parts biology didn’t
understand. (i got an A
in poetry.) then she would ask
for massages, and i would
stop if it hurt her. i learned
to tell.

(the RN got upset one day
when she saw me dump
the half-plate of peas.
she figured out who reported
her to the head then.)


i put in way more than
140 hours. i drove down
every week and we learned.
she had a tutor and he was…
he did not understand us.
he creeped me out.
isabel too. one week i had
to leave her and she begged me
to wait at least until he left.

(one day i came in and
he was on top of her saying
he could make her love him.
he left with a shiner, a broken
nose and
a pink slip.)


we’re both 17. the place
smelled like an abattoir,
and isabel told me her
mom wanted to take her
to the hospital
(where we met)
as a resident. her mom
knew what happened with
the tutor; but she always left
when isabel would cry at
tube changes and wanted
me to turn her
if i were there.


they asked me on
isabel’s 21st birthday
if i wanted to move in.
private room! one bed!
pervy but very gay male
nurse asked to watch.
isabel cringed a little; but
she laughed. i did too once
i saw it was all right.
i worked two jobs and
finished undergrad, and
isabel liked proofreading
papers for me. her degree
would come a year after.
english and biology equals
chemistry for us.

my graduation gift
from her: a poem about
playing in the sun and
i was her open window
to sunlight. to nature.
there were sex metaphors.
her graduation gift
from me: a power chair.
we looked at chair manuals
like car magazines and
she wanted an atrociously pink
hoveround. i added trees
and vines.


it’s evening. a dirty pink
chair and a picnic basket sat
100 yards away. i stayed in my
lab coat and her hand rested
frail in mine. she said that her
friends envied us. caregivers
don’t listen and so many —
they were abused. her book
named each assailant and
gave closure. some doctors
didn’t listen to ideas from them.

i always listened to her.
i smiled. isabel, you are why
i became a doctor. why would
i ignore you? she smiled and

there were other people
when we were six and you
always talked to me. i stopped
talking to people. i thought
you wouldn’t come back.
i was six. haha, i thought
you would still magically come.
i would wish on the sun
for you. and years later,
you came for me.

that’s what people do. isn’t it?
i looked at her and she
looked a little pink. i kissed her.
full red and giggling. tube
adjustment. no, it’s not.
it’s not what people do.
it’s how people should be.
hm. love can do it.
or stubbornness.

napowrimo #2: the ol’ acronym switcheroo

If you love acronyms as I do, your mind has already shortened “Read Write Poem” into “RWP.” But the three letters RWP form known acronyms for at least 31 other phrases, including “Random Weird Person” and “Right Wing Pundits.”

Today’s writing prompt is to type the letters RWP into the abbreviation search field at Acronym Attic and write a poem inspired in any way by one or more of the resulting phrases. You don’t have to use the words from the phrase in your poem, but you can if they fit. GLWI (Good Luck With It)!

RWP: Rear Wheel Push

  1. Just…fantastic. Couldn’t stop reading, and then I started again…

  2. noemi says:

    beautiful story!

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