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Thursday, March 25, 2021


by Claudia Gary

On April 18, 1955, 8-year-old Ann Hill of Tallahassee, Fla. received one of the first Salk polio vaccine shots. Credit AP via NPR.

Seeing a needle, I slid off the chair,
ran down a hallway to the waiting room,
then circled it until the harried nurse
and my mother corralled me. No amount
of coaxing to be good, no bribes of candy,
no warnings about polio could stop
my tears that day. The rest I don’t remember. 
Autonomy, “freedom,” was everything
to a three-year-old. Last weekend I saw
a needle and shed tears of gratitude.

Claudia Gary teaches workshops on Villanelle, Sonnet, Natural Meter, Poetry vs. Trauma, and more through (currently via teleconference). Author of Humor Me (2006) and of chapbooks including Genetic Revisionism (2019) and Bikini Buyer’s Remorse (2015), she is also a health science writer, visual artist, and composer of art songs and chamber music. Follow @claudiagary.