This week, RedLily™ is honoured to showcase poet and creative writer Kimberly Peterson, who resides in a rural community just outside Ottawa, Ontario. Her captivating poem “Key” was inspired by a frightening personal experience after a busy 12-hour shift as a nurse. We hope you enjoy a poem called “Key”.
Inspiration behind the poem
“I stayed late to make sure that the patients’ immediate needs were met before I left the nursing station; so I headed to the change room in the basement alone. It was here that I met three young men wandering around… I shooed them out of the building, only to see them later as I exited the building. This frightening encounter left an indelible mark on my feelings of safety that lasts to this day.” ~ Kimberly Peterson.
"Key" Three omega wolf cubs wearing defiance, baseball caps backward, baggy pants, bulky chains securing empty wallets, in the edgy interval of peach-fuzz chins and croaking voices. I shoo them out of the dingy hospital basement on my way to the change room. As I exit, the staff entrance door clicks locked behind me. I see them illuminated by the streetlight, circling, a pack on the shore waiting for their prey to exhaust itself swimming. Rummaging through my purse, instead of my staff badge which unlocks the door, I find my key ring. Ignoring the flutter of hummingbird wings caged by my ribs, I stride through them, chin up, shoulders square, make it halfway to my car before I hear feet slapping closer, loud as a beavertail striking pond water. I spin around, keys protruding from my clenched fist like talons. They freeze mid-step, turn to retreat in unison. You’re effin brave when I’m facing you, hurled at their backs as insurance. Once locked in my car, I quiver like birch leaves in the evening breeze, struggle to stem the newsfeed stream of alternate ugly endings copper scent of blood, crack of broken bones, jagged gravel imbedded in wounds, purple circling the black centre of bruises spreading across skin and confidence, vividly supplied by my nursing experience. I imagine those teens laughing at the harmless only joking fun but years later still can’t leave a building without clutching keys in my hand the right hand, the stronger one.
About the Author: Kimberly Peterson writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her experience as a nurse working with chronically ill and palliative patients informs the grief, loss, resilience, and the joy of daily life she explores in the manuscript of poetry she’s working on. Read more of her work on kimberlypeterson.ca.
Editor’s note: Do you like to write poems, but don’t know where to share them? We are accepting poetry, photo essays, and creative artwork for upcoming issues. Email [email protected] for more info. Check out some more motivation submissions.