With modern day women, there is often a juggling act between raising children and going to difficult jobs. In this piece I tried to show how nurses are people as well as caregivers; people with families who are still dedicated to making others as comfortable as possible, despite their own tiredness, or sadness that they can’t do more to help. Often when their shifts ends they take home the stories of the patients they’ve cared for, as emotion doesn’t care for the 9-5. I’m exceptionally proud to have a nurse as a parent.


Her fob-watch displays 3am

With its upside down dial,

Her smatter of silver

Heavy as a medal

Against a blue uniform

Carefully ironed on her table,

Its folds now

Sharp under sodium steeped


She has rounds to make,

Our lady without a lamp

I’m awake too,

I can envision her gliding

In her cracked leather shoes,

Across linoleum floors illuminated

In strips of white;

Slipping away

From rows of rooms

With their sleeping patients

Loosening the hours between

Their care and home

With blood pressure obs

And needle disposal,

Metallic shards like the spines

Of fascinating beasts grown dull

After each use

She is on a foreign time continent,

And she is accustomed

To contaminated creatures

Of hospital stays

She hopes there won’t

Be another body

To lay out with enough space

For a strange family’s grief;

Her children will want breakfast

And a lift to school,

And dressing a cadaver would make

Her late to filling five cereal bowls

And the pulling on

Of small boots if the weather is cold

Sterile as winter,

Anaemic as December’s palsied grip

The shift has grown old:

It’s now 4:48am,

And she’s scribbling notes

With military precision for

The handover sheet

For the morning’s regiment

Of bright faces

Fresh from the snow:

Christmas amongst the ranks.

She’ll do this again

Tomorrow night;

Our lady without a lamp




Amber R Walker, Hull, Creative Writer, Bookmaker, Lover of art

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