Diabetes By Amie Sharp My mother pricks her finger. Dinner’s almost ready—halftime, our team losing again, and now her rosemary potatoes will be our solace. For the fourth time today, she tests her blood. My mother loves football and Westerns, James Garner as Maverick. Years after a virus ambushed her pancreas, she wears an insulin pump, and while it works she’s a classic movie savant. Give her any character actor, Sydney Greenstreet, say— she can list his roles. But then her sugar drops, her eyes haze, she casts her mind around for what she needs . . . orange juice . . . some jelly beans. She’s told me of a man from my Tennessee hometown, who left the hospital after his amputation to hobble through the front door of Patsy’s Restaurant. A helpless waitress brought him apple pie and watched as he ate the whole thing, gambling his very blood on its sweetness. Just sick of it, my mother guessed. Now she squeezes a glossy disc onto a strip, deciphers numbers. She doesn’t mention the ocean of these red droplets she’s measured. Because we need her, she knows what she has to do again and again and again and again.
“Diabetes” by Amie Sharp. Copyright © 2012. Originally appeared in Rearrange. Reprinted in What Lies Beyond the Frame, edited by Stan Galloway and Elizabeth Liebl.