musings, life lessons & poetry from Theresa Jarosz Alberti

Poetry Challenge – Day 10

 Welcome to Day 10 of my 30-Day Poetry Challenge!

Comment on today’s poem to win a copy of my poetry book, “(After) Confession… I’m giving away a copy every day. Scroll down below the poem for more details about this Poetry Challenge.

But first, congratulations, Sharon from Texas, for winning a free copy of my poetry book! (I do a raffle from those who commented on yesterday’s post.) Sharon, please email me your address so I can send your prize:

Now onto today’s poem. Don’t forget to comment, and check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won!

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Today’s prompt: write a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happening at once. (I took inspiration from the medical procedure I had just today!)

On the Table


I am Procedure #2, waiting in exam room 29.
I am radiofrequency ablation left knee, ID
bracelet on wrist, birthday repeated to each
staff, allergies yes, medications list confirmed,
height, weight, last time eating, consent
forms signed

Walking in, the low thrum of anxiety, deep breaths,
I’ve done this before.
Greeting nurses and staff who all look familiar by now.
Learning to put on a cheerful face, smile, joke, wear
earrings lipstick  fun socks (my armor).
Asking names, eye contact, small talk,
all this is a kind of lubrication  making everything
go better somehow…. the human element.
Asking for valium three times, I am patiently
a patient, waiting.

On the table, chilled white tiled room,
scent is chemically, medicinally
clean, I am now exposed left knee,
yellow with cold antiseptic
scrub, everything busily prepped,
doctor nurses talk laugh, X-ray
machine hovering, and then I am
numbing agent, 3 needles pushed
in knee, adjusted, just the right place,
they do their thing efficiently, and
soon I am post-procedure papers,
escorted out, checked off the list

I lay back willing myself to relax, positive thoughts, despite this
cold sterile place. Breathe deep.
Surrounded by blue scrubs blue caps white masks, I see only eyes.
I hear their talk about funny commercials, comment cheerfully
when I’m asked.
I juggle a false bravado, doing my part to create my environment.
Blood pressure cuff squeeze, breathe deep.
Needles pierce and thrust, relax the knee, breathe deep.
Time passes, the limbo of waiting, then done.
Back to room 29, giddy with relief and Valium.
Husband comes in with a kiss, walks me out. Free.
At home, I cut off the plastic bracelet, no need to remind anyone
who I really am.

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  • I’m writing and posting a new poem every day through the month of April (yikes!), for better or worse.
  • AND, as a gift, I’m giving away a copy of my poetry book EVERY DAY this month. FREE!
  • Sign up to WIN a copy of (After) Confession by just leaving a comment beneath the poem of the day.
  • I will pick a winner every day in April! So comment every day for a new chance to win.

OR, you can purchase your own copy of (After) Confession for the new low price of $9.00 USD, shipping and handling included! Click here to read sample poems and purchase a copy.

April is National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

This month’s posts are part of the  NaPoWriMo challenge — that’s National Poetry Writing Month. At, you’ll find links to other participating writers and their poetry. AND daily writing prompts for inspiration to write your own poems. Check them out.

I’m so looking forward to your comments–  it doesn’t have to be about the poem. Write anything, share the name of your favorite poet or poem, write about the weather, whatever! And thanks for reading.

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Photo credit: Natanael Melchor, and Rawpixel, courtesy of


  1. Ann Hobbs

    Well done! Congrats on poem and procedure. Here’s to hope!
    Ann Hobbs

    • Theresa Alberti

      Thanks, Ann– I am still in the hoping game!

  2. Nora Jane Krahn

    You spoke so well about the dehumanizing that takes place in the medical world. I could really relate to the way we try to make the impersonal personal… the way we try to connect with the people behind the masks.

    • Theresa Alberti

      I appreciate that, Nora… since I’ve had so many medical procedures in the last 9 months, I’ve seen what it’s like to feel like I’m “just a procedure” and not seen, or other times when others went out of their way to make human connection. With the former, I could see that they were having a different experience of the procedure than I was!

  3. Serena

    Brave Poem, baked on same day as day surgery!

    Is it bad that I love this line?
    “Asking for valium three times, I am patiently
    a patient, waiting.”

    Of COURSE I’m in love with this:
    ” I cut off the plastic bracelet, no need to remind anyone
    who I really am”

    Nicely, Nicely done my friend.

    • Theresa Alberti

      I bet you know how it is, the battle between being human and being a medical case. Thanks!

  4. Sharon

    Oh hospitals, I have come to know them well. As a young child for me, but now for my grandma and parents. Lately we had been to the hospital quite a lot so I really relate even though I haven’t been the patient . . . though many times I’ve felt it would be easier if it were me instead of them.

    And thanks in advance for “(After) Confession . . . “; I’m looking forward to it!

    • Theresa Alberti

      I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with hospitals so much– not much fun. And you’re very welcome! I appreciate hearing from you… now go write a poem! 🙂

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