Two Poems by Katie Perkins


And again and from this angle
Alpine rose
I’ve come this far to find you –
A cooling day, bright, with views,
A mountain in its overcoat
Cloud and fog.
Alpine thistle
Alpine aster
Bracket, whorl
Gather, storm

Mallya Hospital, Bangalore

I press the call button and wait
for the nurse to unhook my I.V.,
so I can use the bathroom.

The first time it had seemed unnecessary
to inform the nurse of my need to urinate,
so I carried the I.V. with me.

Left wrist needle-stiff: balancing the saline sack.
Right arm: tilting the stand forward,
a 35 degree angle. I needed both hands.

Willowy tube on metal tree post
the I.V. stood and watched while I bent over,
maintaining its careful saline drip.

When the nurse enters the room, I request
toilet paper. She nods, picks up the intercom:
Please bring toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper.

In India, a basin, water spigot
and left hand would be preferred.
But the nurse smiles sympathetically.

The crisp folds of her cap,
the neat origami of uniform and sari are comforting.
The couriers arrive, blushed –

clutching a box of tissues,
as embarrassed as I had been,
imagining the exact details of my foreign ritual.

About the author

Katie Perkins is a project manager and editor at the Prague Daily Monitor. Originally from northern California, Katie traveled twice to Germany and once…

Read the full bio

Issue 01 · November 2008

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