by Gabriella Brand

Published in Issue No. 164 ~ January, 2011

Kathy called her new kidney Buster
And talked to it daily, but not in a saccharine sort of way.
Like a foster mother, she laid down the ground rules.
No shirking. No mouthing off.
That little kidney was expected to make its own bed,
and help with the laundry.
Please God, she’d say,
biting her own agnostic lip,
“Make Buster feel at home.”

The donor was a friend,
willing to part with flesh
but expecting nothing.
Every holiday, for years after the transplant,
Kathy thanked her with handmade gifts,
tins of spice cookies,
pillows made out of old pyjamas,
a warm knitted cap, with ear flaps
useless in California,
but nicely made.

Buster was anxious to please,
and things might have gone on forever,
with Kathy knowing life again,
rowing on the lake,
walking into the village,
making tea for the neighbor lady.

In the end it wasn’t Buster’s fault at all.
But rather Kathy’s own little heart,
nameless and original,
which pounded too hard
when no one was looking
and took the house down
with her, like a jealous

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Gabriella Brand was born in New York, but has lived in eight states and several foreign countries. Her training and degrees are in foreign language literature and pedagogy. At one time or another, she has taught English, French, Spanish and Latin. Here most recent course was entitled "101 Tips on How to Learn a Foreign Language" at the University of Connecticut (OLLI program). She is currently learning Japanese. She also loves adventures. Her most recent experience was walking (!) across Spain. Her writing has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Perigee, Echoes, Eleutheria, The Poetry Review of Scotland and Calliope.