Source:

AJN, American Journal of Nursing

December 2002, Volume 102 Number 12 , p 53 - 53 [FREE]

Author

  • Lianne Elizabeth Mercer MSN, RN, CPT

Abstract

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 102(12)             December 2002             p 53 Exiles [FEATURES: Art of Nursing]

Mercer, Lianne Elizabeth MSN, RN, CPT

Lianne Elizabeth Mercer, a poet and certified poetry therapist, works part time as a nurse on the adult psychiatric unit at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital in San Antonio, TX.

Her poetry has appeared in Between the Heartbeats: Poetry and Prose by Nurses (University of Iowa, 1995) and New Texas 2001 (University of Mary Hardin–Baylor). Mercer says, “The ‘exiles’ originally were two young men with schizophrenia I admitted one night to a psychiatric ICU. By the end of the poem, there are many possibilities for whom the title refers to.”

Art of Nursing is coordinated by Sylvia Foley, senior editor: sfoley@lww.com.

They come wearing relief

and apology, ...

 

They come wearing relief

 

and apology, dressed in ragged jeans

 

or wrinkled khakis. They come

 

wearing bewilderment and anger

 

dressed in black T-shirts

 

and faded dreams.

 

These young men are suspicious,

 

now, of everyone, including

 

themselves. They've tried booze

 

and marijuana, sex and sleep.

 

Nothing-not even mother,

 

especially not mother-can sew up

 

the fraying edges of their thoughts.

 

Something has invaded their minds.

 

Birds have begun to nest on ideas

 

in trees bare of intention. Thoughts

 

branch into tangled whispers,

 

shouts for fertilizer or bug spray.

 

Words change meanings, demeaning,

 

demanding attention.

 

From lives of failed perspective,

 

the stories fall. The young men

 

look inward and outward at the same time,

 

walk the narrow bridge medication provides

 

between worlds. They remind us

 

we cannot go home again.

 

We must always walk head on

 

into the foreign countries of our lives.