Everything Every Time

By Brian Russell Brian Russell
in a different version of this I'm the one
sitting up in bed while the nurse says
deep breaths   listens to my lungs through
the cold antenna of her stethoscope   you're the one
sitting in a chair in the corner
with a half hearted smile plastered to your face

in a different version of this
we're both in bed   hunched over
while two nurses   sisters actually   listen
to our lungs   your husband and my wife
sit in the corners of the room
both of them completely useless

in a different version of this I'm in a chair
in the corner while my sister sits up
in bed   you're the nurse who listens
to my sister breathing   you glance at me for
an instant and return my uncertain smile

in a different version of this I sit up
abruptly in bed   I'm breathing deeply   you
put your hand on my back and say
go back to sleep   you're fine   everything is fine

Brian Russell, "Everything Every Time" from The Year of What Now. Copyright © 2013 by Brian Russell.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press. www.graywolfpress.org

Source: The Year of What Now (Graywolf Press, 2013)

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Poet Brian Russell

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Biography

Brian Russell's first book of poetry is The Year of What Now (Graywolf, 2013), which won the Bakeless Poetry Prize. Russell earned an MFA from the University of Houston, where he served as poetry editor for Gulf Coast. His poems have appeared in Bat City Review, the Cincinnati ReviewEpochMid-American Review, and Verse Daily. He lives in Chicago.

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Poems by Brian Russell

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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