After 13 weeks in a cast the doctor tells
her her son’s wrist needs surgery
then eight more weeks in a cast minimum.

They will take bone from his hip
connect it to the wrist bone
that’s connected to a night in the hospital.

She calls her ex to let him know
not that he’s entitled, she’s got sole
legal and physical custody;
she does it for selfish reasons.
Her son needs a ride to the hospital.
Her sick days are used up
and she’s tired; the ex retired

The ex wants her to call the doctor
and remind him to wash his hands
before surgery. Many medical people
don’t wash their hands enough, he says,
including doctors, he says. “I was a medic
in the army so I know this first hand.”

She gives the ex the phone number for the doctor’s office,
suggests he call and voice his concerns.
If you get a voice mail, she says, leave a message
reminding them all to wash their hands
before surgery as I washed my hands of you.

Suzanne Nielsen

If you have any comments on this poem, Suzanne Nielsen would be pleased to hear from you.