I remember when I walked out onto a surgical ward – Sarah J Bryson

I remember when I walked out onto a surgical ward

for the first time, dressed in the blue of a student nurse.
I remember the not-yet-knowing, the smell in the throat
the top-down view of allotments from the sixth floor.

I remember sister-tutor, in her burgundy uniform-dress
edged with white, who cajoled my group out of shyness
showing us the way to shake down the mercury

with a determined wrist-flick and telling us how, in her day
the cost of a broken thermometer would be deducted
from a nurse’s monthly pay. Let’s do a set of obs, she said.

First of all, take a pulse. So our team of four spread out
in the bay, one for each man in fresh pyjamas
seated by his neat bed. Mine smiled kindly, put out his wrist

for my nervous grip. A hairy hand and arm, but the underside
where I placed my fingers, below his thumb, was smooth.
I remember how his pulse rippled beneath, full and slow.

I remember how it made me blush.

Sarah is a writer of poetry and prose, a nurse and a keen amateur photographer. She is interested in words, words for well being, people and nature and the connections between these aspects of her life. 

Broken – Sarah J Bryson

Broken

I stop as I feel the phone vibrate in my pocket
release my left hand from its glove by biting
the finger tip. I walk slowly towards
the Institute of Mathematics. Underfoot
the Penrose Paving glints with frost.

The sun is low and there is a ghostly moon –
it floats, paper thin, as if lit from behind.
Clouds gather in the fading sky.
It may yet snow, I think.
It may yet snow.

My reflection in the glass ahead is multi-edged.
My breath turns to vapour, white, about my head.
The text message is brief: tells me
get home, soon.

At the foot of the double doors in front of me
a brown feathered bird. Beautiful.
Not moving.

 

Sarah is a writer of poetry and prose, a nurse and a keen amateur photographer. She is interested in words, words for well being, people and nature and the connections between these aspects of her life.