beneficence

About Ron Mohring

Ron Mohring's other chapbooks are Amateur Grief (1998, Frank O'Hara Award) and The David Museum (2002, New Michigan Press). His poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Artful Dodge, Bay Windows, DIAGRAM, Gettysburg Review, Hanging Loose and other journals. He is the current Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University, where he teaches literature and creative writing and serves as associate editor of West Branch.

Pecan Grove Press

beneficence
Ron Mohring

$7.00
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ISBN: 1-931247-11-0

The speaker of these poems is unafraid of seeing the processes of living and dying. The clinical and the mysterious coexist in a world where a hospital worker demonstrates how to insert a catheter and a child learns to love the body's salt taste. These are the poems of an empathic participant-observer, committed to precision and gratitude, to the body in community served by a sense-making beneficent spirit.

—Dierdre O'Connor

The Jockey

Where are your gloves? Joyce demands
as we roll George Fenster, guide his hand
to the bedrail. He grips it tight. His ratchety voice
scrapes out an anguished Sorry. Shit like clotted paint.

I swipe his buttocks clean with a wet towel, roll
the half sheet tight beneath him. Joyce fanfolds
the new sheet, creases it against his body.
We flip George to the other side. Quick swipe,

pull out the soiled linen, unroll and snap tight
the clean sheet, yank it free of wrinkles. Flop
his body back. Smooth the gown. Check the pillow.
George’s eyes glisten. His face like a pig’s. The scar

bisects his forehead, parts his thinning hair.
He was 23. Had had a decent year.
His father bought the horse, took it to his farm
outside Paducah. Shot it standing in its stall

the following winter. I forget, I say. I pretend
they’re someone’s children, ignore the threat
of infection. Don’t, says Joyce flatly,
eyes stern above her mask.

 

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