Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter

Cortney Davis


Thirty weeks,
and the baby’s not moving.

I listen to deep silence.
Then, the pregnant belly wakes.

From beneath the mountain,
thunder singing.


The final day of OB rotation
the medical student has a choice–
see the last patient of the day
or run to the coffee shop for a milkshake?

Milkshake wins!

What will I say when they ask me
was he dedicated?


“Why did you do this? Why did you order that?”

Full of indignation, the chief resident
attacks me

like the attending doctors
stormed at her only this morning.


There, on her cervix, a red spot
like a berry.

Today, I see her again,
shuffling her way to the bathroom
without her cancer.

She looks so much smaller.

About the poet:

Cortney Davis, a nurse practitioner, is the author of Leopold’s Maneuvers, winner of the 2003 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, and The Heart’s Truth: Essays on the Art of Nursing, winner of the 2010 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award. For a change of pace, Cortney is poetry editor of the journal Alimentum: The Literature of Food. Her Web site is www.cortneydavis.com.

About the poem:

“The vignettes in ‘Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter’ came directly from my work as a nurse practitioner in a clinic for underserved women. I wanted the sections to be haiku-like (while not being actual haiku) in reflecting both the external season as well as the ‘climate’ in the clinic. I began with spring and ended with winter because those seasons, metaphorically, also begin and end our lives.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer


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