Monday, December 7, 2020

when i was a nurse on the medical floor by Scott Ferry

i loved to joke with many of my patients
but one in particular would always have the raunchiest
gems ready for me when i arrived in his room—
the one about the nun and the camel
or the walrus and the seal 
and his wife had dirtier ones than him
as she chuckled in the corner

something happened i cannot remember (or tell) 
but he stopped being able to talk or move for about a week
and i had to crush his meds and squirt them down
a feeding tube taped in his nostril as he searched me 
for signs of humor or news or a crack in the ice
which had taken him and i could not summon 
any light and averted my eyes
pushing buttons on iv pumps

he went to icu and miraculously came back 
in a few days still unable to talk but able to eat 
and sit upright his wife grinning 
with a seahawks blanket in the lounge-chair 
and when he saw me his eyes begged for me 
to act normal even if he couldn’t so i half yelled
Oh it’s you! and flipped him off
and he laughed and snorted

and mustered enough strength
to raise his finger and lift it straight up
at me until i didn’t know if i was laughing or crying
his wife just clapped her hands and squealed
and every time i walked in he would
dig one finger out of his sheets for me 
until one day he actually whispered
Fuck you!

Fuck you! Fuck you!
and i couldn’t speak but just smiled open-skulled 
and wet his wife looked like she had been baptized 
her mascara dripping down like holy blood
and god shook my arms and i replied
Well, fuck you too!

Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN. He has recent work in American Journal of Poetry, Misfit, and Cultural Weekly, among others. His second book Mr. Rogers Kills Fruit Flies will be published by Main St Rag in Fall 2020. More of his work can be found at

1 comment:

  1. oh that is beautiful. The best Fuck you in the world! and his wife-- I love your story and the way you must be with your patients. i love this: his wife looked like she had been baptized
    her mascara dripping down like holy blood
    and god shook my arms and i replied
    Well, fuck you too


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