A Good Day Job

         Get a good day job…one that puts your boat
         out in the river of life.

                              --Abraham Verghese
             

It could have been anything—
no poets or nurses in my family.

As a kid, I wanted a job and a car.
At 17, college and independence,
the limits of my ambition.

Teach or nurse then marry,
that’s what women like me
did in those days.
I chose nursing.

I learned a lot in that boat—
science, critical thinking
how to care for bodies and souls
how the human drama unfolds.

And I learned this about rivers.
They have a source,
a course 
and a mouth.

A therapist once told me,
You’re not a nurse for nothing.
This is true.  Nursing carried me
to the mouth of the river.

My job now is to tell you
about the boat.

          --Veneta Masson