Poem 5 ± November 5, 2016

Debora Lidov


1. Hospital Record

Patient is full-term baby born to HIV-positive mother. Per infectious disease team, Patient to be discharged home on oral AZT four times daily times six weeks. Note father is unaware of mother’s status or baby’s treatment protocol. Mother has trained in medication administration and verbalizes plan: Father to be told by mother that AZT is routine antibiotic or did she say vitamins. Mother refuses home-care nurse.


2. Staff in the Hall

The mother has a
House In Virginia.
The mother has a

Hat In Verona.
The mother has a
Honda In Vegas.


3. Staff Meeting

nurse: Don’t we have to tell the father?

lawyer: Does anyone know if we have to tell the father?

pediatrics director: This again? We never tell the father.

pediatric infectious disease: If we tell the father we risk losing everyone.

social worker: Does the father have the right to see the child’s chart?

answer: No father has ever asked in the history of this unit to see the chart.

pediatric resident: Aren’t we supposed to inform DOH to alert partners?

social worker: We’re the baby’s team. The baby doesn’t have any partners.

home-care liaison: She knew when she married him and he doesn’t know? What’s AZT?

He might beat her if she told.

Maybe he should beat her and teach her a lesson.

Her load is low he isn’t at risk.

Her load his high she’s noncompliant we shouldn’t let her have this baby in the first place.

Hi, I’m Vanessa!

Howard Interrupts Victor.

He probably does know and he probably gave it to her.

But he’d still beat her and blame her if she told.

They aren’t married, he doesn’t have rights to see the chart.

How would we know which parents are married?


4. Interview

Social worker: Can you tell me what you think would happen if you told?

Mother: It just isn’t something he needs to know.


Debora_LidovDebora Lidov is the author of Trance (Finishing Line Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in Ars Medica, Cut Throat, Five Points, Salamander, upstreet, and The Threepenny Review. Debora is a medical social worker and lives in Brooklyn.

See her poem in the previous HH&N poem-a-day feature.

This poem is not previously published.