Bettina Judd | Author of Patient

Bettina Judd

Art. Feminism. Femme Fire.

The Researcher Discovers Anarcha, Betsey, Lucy

from patient.

Nurses ask me, 
“How much does it hurt on a scale from one to ten?”

Anarcha Wescott, Betsey Harris, and Lucy Zimmerman are taken                                                               into the care of a reluctant country surgeon in Montgomery, Alabama.

see blood on a white hospital sheet,
tell me I am having menstrual cramps

Betsy’s first birth,

 send me home with oxycodone, ibuprofen

Lucy, months out of household duties

after five hours in triage

Anarcha, his first vesico-vaginal fistula

and another prescription

In these three, Sims shapes his speculum, invents his silver sutures,                                                   perfects protocol for proper handling of the female pelvis.

we wake at Johns Hopkins,

unanesthesized or addicted to opium, children born, children                                                         disappeared.  Helpless     help.

* A previous version of this poem appears in Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism 11.2. "The Researcher Discovers Anarcha, Betsey, Lucy" and appears in patient., Bettina's debut collection published by Black Lawrence Press.

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© Bettina Judd 2002-2019. All rights reserved.