Poem for My Girlfriend, the Trauma ICU Nurse

My girlfriend and I have this argument about
who has the harder job. Because she will come to my shows and be like I don’t know how you
just get up there and say all those things to people you don’t even know. And I’m like,
I don’t know how you save lives. Because she is a trauma ICU nurse and I’m like uhhhh,
that seems hard. So I want to dedicate this poem to her. I hope I have it memorized. The black holes are resorting to violence
again. Swallowing stars by the fist full, like some
bully on the playground tossing back skittles shaken from the pockets
of the puniest galaxies. You only read the news, if it is news about
space. Tuesdays are our Sundays because we don’t
have regular people jobs. We are curled up in our chair scrolling through
the latest space report when you tell me, They gobble up everything.
Everything exists inside Black holes. I wonder if that’s where you keep your feelings.
In the throat of a black hole. The first time you watched someone die you
said it was the sound that ripped through you, a long slow tear
in the fabric of space, the patients breath swallowed whole,
the room shrinking to one steady
flat tone.
The pain of life giving up on a body is just a faint door creaking
inside death’s loud waiting room. When you tell me you are getting a Room 30
patient, I don’t really know what that means but I
know you will need a drink when you get home.
When you get home, I tell you all about my day,
I go on and on about the poem I couldn’t write, the emails, the never ending discussion on
Facebook, your eyes are distant meteors and I say I’m
so sorry, tell me about your day?
No, no. I just want to listen to you talk. You lightly drum on the veins in my wrist
to feel for their plump salute. Their bright going on.
When I get mad at you for not telling me how you feel,
I have to remember what it requires To do compressions until your arms go numb,
tuck the brain back in the skull. Keep the lungs going
when the liver fails. Tell the family it’s time to withdraw care.
Hold the hand of the woman who can’t feel her hand anymore,
whose family stopped coming because it was just too painful.
The police officer crushed in a high speed chase. The three
year old boy who pull the TV down on top of himself.
What if I made a mistake? I can’t make a mistake. t’s just a job, I’m just doing my job, we
can’t save everyone. Most people don’t know how lucky they are
to get to have a goal bigger than lifting a spoon or breathing on your own.
Most people complain like the Universe owes them something grander
than the 34 billion cells in their miraculous body. Most people
will never know what it’s like to get the text that says
female,25, full arrest to hear the name of your friend,
the one texted you to see if you wanted to get a drink
but you said no because with her it is never just one drink,
most people will not know what it is like to call the time of death on a friend
Somewhere in this universe there is a black hole,
shining like a roadside dive bar, where she is still sitting there,
you don’t have to hold her mother saying we did everything
we could do, you don’t lay in bed at night wondering
if you did everything you could do. You are throwing darts at Jupiter.
Dark matter is a slow song we can away to, I’m holding you saying,
It’s okay, baby, it’s okay, Everything exists here.

20 thoughts on “Poem for My Girlfriend, the Trauma ICU Nurse

  1. You win. She has the harder job.

    Great, great, great poem, Lauren. Thank you.


  2. I'm a Trauma/ER NP. You nailed it. Thanks. Better than any mug I ever got for nurse's week. Thanks.

  3. This is beautiful. Your poem made me stop and take in a little perspective; probably something I should do a little more often. Thank you for your poem, and thank your girlfriend for me too.  

  4. This brought tears to my eyes, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing, and making me stop and think. 

  5. im sorry but this women is so stupid and naive first of your job is no way as hard as your partners a trauma nurse you do shit compared to her your a waste of space compared to her greatness then out of no where you start using by far the worst poetry which explains nothing your trying to get across since your girlfriend probably sees people die every day you selfish women want to make her relieve that you don't deserve a life saver in your life cause all you care is making her relieve the pain of every day there is and as a trauma anything that is the worst thing you can to so don't use poetry that is out of touch and absolutely terrible to listen to cause you are the problem here   

  6. Beautiful, powerful and a glimpse into the heart of the nurses who save  lives everyday. Thank you for this salute to your girlfriend and to nurses everywhere. And please ignore the trolls here, who  have nothing to do but complain, shame and destroy beautiful people like you.

  7. Beautiful prose, and great tribute to a trauma nurse. I was quite touched by it.

  8. I was recently in the ER for a heart attack and saw some of the things mentioned here.  My heart breaks for the nurses who have to deal with this all the time.  My adopted mother was a nurse, and even though she didn't work trauma, she still had to deal with tragedy, mutilation, sickness and death.  My nurses were EXCEPTIONAL when I was in the hospital and I give all my thanks and best thoughts to those, and all nurses!

  9. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing your amazing gift and using it to celebrate such a crucial workforce that is often taken for granted. xxoo

  10. If you really think that nursing is so great maybe you should stop wasting everybody's time with your ridiculous poetry, roll up your sleeves and join the fight.  The one life you save would be worth more than the sum of your entire body of work.

  11. One of my fellow nursing students linked me to this a couple of months ago, and it's one of the most beautiful poems I've ever had. So captivating.

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