Nancy Mitchell

Sister Dementia Remembers & Phone Booth
December 26, 2021 Mitchell Nancy

Sister Dementia Remembers


Enough of bosom, ass and pillow—
it’s up and out to get the early
bird before the worm, the bone
between my teeth before I drop
it, the last olive out of the jar.
I lived in a brown stand-alone
with a stay-at-home. At the first
sprig of forsythia he’d lay me
down on the table and take
out his razor to trim you up
 for bikini season! How happy
it made him to see me so kempt.
God knows I never had a bikini
body, but god, did I have a body.
When the night nurse slipped out
of Post Op for a vending bag
of Cheetos, and a twenty-minute
smoke, my mother’s throat
swelled shut. When you sing,
St. Augustine said, you pray twice.




Phone Booth

Small grotto in the lobby of the defunct
city hospital now a Covid vaccine
clinic. Wonder if those in wheel chairs—paper
masks wet at the mouth, bi-focals fogged, liver-
spotted hands quaking—ever dialed out
with its a boy or our boy, bad car wreck
had to crowbar him out, or conveyor
belt at the packing plant…just snatched his hand
clean off…the blood oh sweet jesus the blood
buckets of it… floor so slick foreman shut
the night shift down or still dont know…maybe
the heart…still waiting  for more tests or God
please please sweetheart…please weve got to believe
the doctors did everything they could.


Nancy Mitchell is a 2012 Pushcart Prize winner and the author of The Near Surround, Grief Hut and the The Out-of- Body Shop. She teaches at Salisbury University in Maryland and serves as Associate Editor of Special Features for Plume. She is the Poet Laureate of the City of Salisbury, Maryland.