Poem of the Week, by Nancy Henry

img_5354Poetry sites are bookmarked on my computer and the first thing I do when I wake up is go from one to the other, reading poems. Four per morning, sometimes more. I hardly ever read any poems I like. Why do you read poems you don’t like? asks the man who knows me best, watching me sigh and roll my eyes. Because I have to read a ton of poems I don’t like in order to find one I do like, which is the truth. Maybe one out of a hundred poems will seize me. Even so, one out of a hundred poems adds up. They add up and up and up, to a beautiful tumble of beautiful poems I will keep reading forever. You know what else adds up? Cruel statements add up, and vicious diatribes add up, and chants of lock her up add up, and rallies of falsehoods and hatred add up. But good deeds add up too, damn it, and so do people who fill a hollow no one else can fill, as in this beautiful poem below. Hail to the unsung and underpaid caregivers, for they are the ones who mend the wounds, smooth the sheets, clean the vomit of humanity from the streets and from our souls.

People Who Take Care
     – Nancy Henry

People who take care of people
Get paid less than anybody
people who take care of people
are not worth much
except to people who are
sick, old, helpless, and poor
people who take care of people
are not important to most other people
are not respected by many other people
come and go without much fuss
unless they don’t show up
when needed
people who make more money
tell them what to do
never get shit on their hands
never mop vomit or wipe tears
don’t stand in danger
of having plates thrown at them
sharing every cold
observing agonies
they cannot tell at home
people who take care of people
have a secret
that sees them through the double shift
that moves with them from room to room
that keeps them on the floor
sometimes they fill a hollow
no one else can fill
sometimes through the shit
and blood and tears
they go to a beautiful place, somewhere
those clean important people
have never been.

For more information on Nancy Henry, please click here.