by Jane Newkirk

Ms. Newkirk has worked as a cook, bread baker, visual artist, and art gallery owner.
Her poems have appeared in The Night Heron Barks, JAMA, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.
She currently works as an occupational therapist in a long-term acute care hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.

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Her small pink tongue probes the object 

violating her mouth, twines the tube 

sunk in the black of her throat,

the way it might explore a tooth

gone bad: insistent, obsessive, unable

to find a place of rest. She has lost 

the battle with the straps that fetter 

her wrists to the bed’s frame. 

Forced to concede to survival 

by submitting to life forced upon her, 

she pitches her gaze about the room 

the way birds trapped indoors 

will fling their bodies against the glass 

in search of an exit into open air.

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