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My Name Is Pablo Chanto

Hadari, Atar MFA

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: September 2007 - Volume 107 - Issue 9 - p 72
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000287514.15758.c0
FEATURE: Art of Nursing

“My Name Is Pablo Chanto,” a poem.

Atar Hadari is a writer and translator living in Hebden Bridge, England. His poetry has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, American Poetry Review, Partisan Review, and many other literary journals. Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of Hayim Nahman Bialik (Syracuse University Press, 2000), for which he was the translator, was a finalist for the American Literary Translators' Association Award in 2001. Contact author:

Art of Nursing is coordinated by Sylvia Foley, senior editor:

She was a staff nurse, great thighs

barrelling round the corridor

with chains of trolleys

stacked to the port holes with pills

potions, ointments for the gout, charts stuffed with magic—

once in the operating theatre

when they brought in a dead father,

well, almost dead,

in a Hawaiian shirt blessed with flowers

streaming, his hands all wet with papaya juice

(he was stabbed, in a restaurant)

he opened his eyes and looked straight at her

“My name is Pablo Chanto,” he said

and he closed his eyes and she could hear,

as they opened his chest

and tried to get his breath,

fishes leaving the sunken reef

opening the carafes of their throats

and swallowing wine out of the reeds

like bubbles reaching hands

in streams out of his mouth

at the bottom of the ocean in a galleon,

fish swimming in streams out of his chest

and the flowers on the gurney

in his shirt, flowers soaked and billowing

with red all whisper as she reaches

in his chest to scoop the fishes out,

“You must go home and write this down.”

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.