four years after my father died of our heart condition.
linda harris dolan

it’s that i—the one who kicked three nurses out
of his room, wrote down his blood pressure
every fifteen minutes, fought the insurance company for two
weeks, forced them to approve me for a new kind of device— 
couldn’t even tell the tsa guy at the airport, no
when he told me to still go through the metal detector. 
just, no. but i couldn’t say it. 
so i walked through the detector and i hoped my
defibrillator wouldn’t go off and shock my heart, 
and then i hoped it would— 
and that it’d be someone else’s fault
and i could crawl in a hospital bed and fall asleep for a while
and be sick enough that people would have to take care of me, 
would just have to sustain me, and it wouldn’t all
be up to me anymore. but it didn’t go off. of course
it didn’t go off. so i went on home for christmas
and slept through the days at the in-laws and when
my husband was mad at me, i didn’t even say, 
you can’t talk to me that way. i didn’t say a thing. 
and then my cousin said, linda, you’ve just had
heart surgery—you know that’s a lot. 

and i thought, no. not really. or, no. it shouldn’t be. 
and my cousin said, linda, you’re still grieving your dad. 
and my cousin said, linda, you’re writing about us. 
and my uncle said, they teach us in counseling: 
when you have a heart patient, you have a depressed patient. 

and i said, i don’t even know what i’m upset about. 


Linda Harris Dolan is a poet and editor in New York City. She holds an M.A. in English & American Literature, focusing on the postcolonial, from New York University, and she’s an M.F.A. candidate in Poetry at New York University. She’s a freelance editor and has taught writing at The King’s College and New York University. Linda is Poetry Editor for Washington Square Review. 

You can read our interview with her here.

Linda H. Dolan