I guess I never knew/What she was
talking about, I guess I never knew/What
she was living without.
students and I—her visits, her concern—make a tea,
adjust a shawl, say a word. And the Higginson bulb,
the grated soap and antiseptic smell, Vera pumping
her cure until the woman is feeling full,
are you dear? The Jamaican woman, the woman
with her seventh child, the women on saggy beds
in chill-damp rooms. We’ll discuss the film, though
I haven’t a plan. Acting? History? Ensemble work?
How I shared in one. With Pam. How we’d
depended on the natural, and how it had
failed, as quickly as a finger snap, but silent, and
the surprise just as brittle. How Pam had said yes,
the only way for her just then, absolutely. How
I agreed. How it was not by a gritty someone
who hardly washed her hands, but legal, clean—
suction tube, plastic bag, recovery in a waiting room.
Then the short drive home—how it seemed so easy—
like grocery shopping, or a morning run. But I
wonder now, if it was so easy. For Pam.