Sunday Poetry Series Presents: Andrea Scarpino


by Andrea Scarpino

The research shows that the self can be detached from the body and can live a phantom existence on its own, as in an out-of-body experience, or it can be felt outside of personal space, as in a sense of a presence.

~ Dr. Peter Brugger, quoted in The New York Times

Weeks before you died, you told me you’d been

in the hospital bed when you felt your body rise,

hover near the ceiling lights, heard your name called

again and again. Probably the doctors, I said,

arranged your flowers, get well cards. You shook

your head. You were a scientist, taught me to believe

what could be seen through a microscope lens,

truth in beveled glass. Next day, you seized again.

They’re saying Pasquale, you said as the paramedics

arrived, carried you back to the hospital.

You never spoke your full name, called yourself Pat

instead. I played the scientist, blamed your medication,

seizures, hearing aids. What else could I believe?

Truth like beveled glass: for weeks before you died,

your name was called, your body pulled away.

Andrea Scarpino is the author of the chapbook The Grove Behind (Finishing Line Press). She received an MFA in Creative Writing from The Ohio State University, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is a longtime activist. Her current interests include sijo (an ancient Korean poetic form), elegy, the intersections of art and politics, and the politics of clean water. She currently teaches with the Union Institute and University’s Cohort Ph.D. program in Interdisciplinary Studies and is the West Coast Correspondent for the blog Planet of the Blind. The above poem originally appeared in Prairie Schooner and is included Scarpino’s chapbook, The Grove Behind. It is reprinted here by permission of the author.

About Okla Elliott

I am currently an assistant professor at Misericordia University in northeast Pennsylvania. I hold a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State University, and a legal studies certificate from Purdue University. My work has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, The Hill, Huffington Post, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, A Public Space, and Subtropics, as well as being listed as a "notable essay" in Best American Essays 2015. My books include From the Crooked Timber (short fiction), The Cartographer’s Ink (poetry), The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (a coauthored novel), Blackbirds in September: Selected Shorter Poems of Jürgen Becker (translation), and Bernie Sanders: The Essential Guide (nonfiction).
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