Clinical Hands

Clinical hands

The first hands to touch me

were clinical hands,

as you laid in twilight sleep, mother

drugged against your wishes

by a doctor who “knew better” than you did

what was good for you and your newborn daughter.

Clinical hands passed me

to other clinical hands

latex against my exposed

and innocent skin.

The only child of five

not laid upon her mother’s warm, waiting breasts

Could that be the explanation

for the inexplicable fear of abandonment

that has paralyzed me most of my life?

A fear that compelled me to crawl on my hands and knees

Until I could prop my chin at your feet, willing my gaze to awaken you

without rousing the jealous man who lay beside you?

When I was lucky, your eyes would flutter open

your tender gaze would find me,

and you would open your arms

like the gates of golden heaven

and the grip of those cold, clinical hands on my heart

would be torn loose, banished by the warmth of your body.

We cannot know now

if four decades ago that doctor’s arrogance

disrupted the earliest, wordless bond

of mother and child.

Perhaps it has nothing to do with the consuming emptiness

that has haunted me all of my life.

Maybe it is only a result

of your decision to share that story

over and over again as I grew-up

that created the memories of being taken

from a warm, safe haven of love

to a place of harsh, sterile separation, barren of life.

The stories we tell our children

have a power unimaginable

in the adult world, of logic and common sense.

I cannot blame you mother

for sharing a memory that was painful for you.

I just wish that I could go back and change it, for us both.

Published by janetlandis

I am a mother, a nurse, a caregiver and a writer.

4 thoughts on “Clinical Hands

    1. Thanks Patricia. I’ve already started reading on your blog. That may be my favorite part of blogging, the connections I’m starting to make. Again, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. After seeing your blog, it’s obvious I have a long way to go, and a lot to learn, but that’s why I do it!


  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on the poem. I’m looking forward to exploring your blog as well.


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