Poem: Diabetes Versus Mom’s Brownies

By: Ruth Deming


No, it’s not in the family
no, I’m not overweight
no, I don’t drink soda or eat Tastykakes.

It was the lithium that did it
ruined my kidneys
those impeccable filters
that keep our insides clean

Up on the table at Einstein
out like a mummy,
my daughter Sarah’s kidney was
funneled into my belly

Urine now, pure as a
Michelob on Tap, but
something unforeseen
happens: my prednisone
and Prograf, transplant meds,
block secretion of insulin.

I am now a person with diabetes
whose drug of choice
is a needle filled with crystal-clear
tear-drops of insulin
the poet cries silently
for herself, drawing blood
ten times a day, injecting in
belly, upper arm, tush and thigh

Mom, a baker all her life, has
found at ninety-two a new recipe
for brownies. “Which do you want?”
she asks, standing over her pan.
“A corner one or one from the middle?”

“Both, please,” I say from the table.
“And a dollop of whipped cream with

I go into the dining room, where,
unseen and burning with minor shame
I inject another ten units.

What we don’t see is a cup of
granulated sugar circulating in my
blood stream, somersaulting,
catapulting, doing cartwheels of
Off come the toes
then the feet
the eyes grow blind
the mind slows
and everything goes

It’s worth it! I shout.
It’s worth it, for
I’m eating
mother’s new


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