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The Look on Your Face

Priscilla Mainardi ~

Your skin pale with worry,
your mouth a straight line,
the fear in your eyes–
all this told me,
more than the nausea,
more than the fact that I couldn’t move my head,
that something was really wrong.

You thought I wouldn’t see.

I looked up at the ceiling,
at its pattern of dots,
white, and brighter white,
that could mean anything, or nothing,
but that kept me from thinking
about the look on your face,
before you had time to rearrange it
into a mask of hope.

About the poet:

Priscilla Mainardi, a registered nurse, attended the University of Pennsylvania and earned her MFA degree in creative writing from Rutgers University in Newark, NJ. Her work has appeared in Pulse [1], bioStories [2], The Examined Life Journal [3], Prick of the Spindle and elsewhere. She teaches English composition at Rutgers University.

About the poem:

“The poem, addressed to my husband, was inspired by a visit to the emergency department following a fainting episode. This event felt like it portended things to come as my husband and I grow older and inevitably face difficult health issues.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer