Touch: The Journal of Healing


Editor’s Choice


There is no sleep for one who prays

    by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

The night you slept with a tube in your throat

I begged the nurse to let me stay

so they placed a cot beside you as if that might

promote an hour’s worth of rest, but there’s no

sleep for one who prays and I tried so hard

to listen for an answer; some sign that you’d be

alright. I made promises for all failures

and mistakes throughout my life, as though I’d

be repaid in exchange for your well being.

Even the windows felt clouded through smears

of dampness marking glass with reminders

as if some external force was joining in. I could

almost smell the scent of winter circling

your frail face; old memories pushing though

doors locked from outside in proving being lost

is never about where you're going but knowing

where you've been.

You dozed with an unconscious stare, cold

like rivers in December and I told you stories

of growing up as if you didn't remember years

spent brushing my hair, tying pinafores around

my waist, as if my whole childhood had been

a waste, long forgotten and when I leaned

over your face to an unfamiliar reserve

I knew no healing could change the outcome,

you were already unwavering in your desire

to leave. And when you put my hand

in yours, I thought a miracle had begun

as if you were coming back to me. I pressed

your fingers to my cheek pretending you were

loving me again when you were only begging

that I'd pull the tube from your throat. I never

spoke of it; even now that elusion of truth

plagues my days, for refusing your last

request. How I defiantly called the nurse

to adjust the hose resting precariously

on your chest, how it ignited some tiny light

within you to see me gloat with disobedience

and how for one moment I almost enjoyed

you being angry with me again.

© 2012  Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is a six-time Pushcart nominee and Best of the Net nominee.  She has authored eight chapbooks along with her latest full-length collection of poems: Epistemology of an Odd Girl, newly released from March Street Press.  She is a recent winner of the Red Ochre Press Chapbook competition for her manuscript “Before I Go to Sleep.”  According to family lore, she is a direct descendent of Robert Louis Stevenson.

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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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