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FEATURES: Art of Nursing

Fingerstick

Gahl, Kathryn J. BSN, RN

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AJN, American Journal of Nursing: July 2003 - Volume 103 - Issue 7 - p 41
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So a man disappeared,

last seen in a bar,

the exact time unsure.

Time flies when you're—never mind,

a man disappeared, this happens

more often than you know; flesh and bones

discovered weeks or months later

to examine DNA from lips and thighs,

anything that once was alive. As for the man

who disappeared? It happens everywhere,

but this the first for our small town,

and at Bugsy's the next night

yakkity-yak about how no one

really knew him, he didn't fit in

not even with jukebox din.

Some surprise he was diabetic,

those brain cells famished and

the fingerstick too late

for a body craving sweetness,

a little cheer.

Kathryn J. Gahl, a writer and a registered nurse, lives in Two Rivers, WI.

She served as director of women's and children's services at St. Nicholas Hospital, Sheboygan, WI, from 1987 to 1998, and now manages her husband's family practice. Her poems and short fiction have recently appeared in Free Verse, Porcupine, Potpourri, and the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar.

About this poem, Gahl says, “One weekend I was reading the newspaper and saw a story about a man who had disappeared. My daughter, a nursing student, mentioned that no one knew he was diabetic until after his disappearance. This heightened the urgency of the search. I sat down and wrote ‘Fingerstick,’ realizing that, diabetic or not, our bodies need nourishment and our spirits need kindness and camaraderie.”

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.