Only Serious Applicants Need Apply

Only Serious Applicants Need Apply

In the club you never wanted to join
is a job you didn’t apply for, your qualifications, dubious.
Requirements include multiple personality transformations:
nurse, masseuse, psychotherapist, physical and occupational
therapist, pharmacist, nutritionist, medical researcher,
vice-president in charge of all paperwork, insurance nag,
professional wish-you-knew-it-all-and-hate-that-you-don’t.

Benefits include seeing:
the neighbor coming home late, coyotes prowling
your urban streets, the moon in all phases,
hearing: the house creak-shift,
the newspaper slam against your unlocked door,
alley cats mating, a sound not unlike your child crying,
which makes the hair on your arm rise,
and for the fourth or fifth time you must check
her room, her breathing, inhale
the delicate sleep-smell of her
because when you signed up
for motherhood, fatherhood, you didn’t think
it included a future with a child
who may not have one.

Suzanne Edison
The Moth Eaten World
Finishing Line Press

Only Serious Applicants Need Apply
Suzanne Edison


what it means

No one chooses to be the parent of a chronically ill child.  Here's what it is like to be the parent of a chronically ill child.  When you are the parent of a chronically ill child, you focus on the small moments.

why I like it

This poem lets me into a world I want to know and understand but cannot ask about.  She's telling me a secret that I want to hear and perhaps need to hear.  I often wonder how I will handle it when I am faced with such a challenge.  I don't have a chronically ill child, but something equally devastating could happen to me tomorrow.  This poem helps me to think about it.

It's funny and heartbreaking at the same time.  


This poem is a craft lesson in show don't tell.  I love the sounds of the house at night, especially as they build to the cry.  It gives me shivers every time I read it.

I love how the second stanza is all one sentence.

The ending shocks me every time even though I knew what was coming (because I had chatted with Suzanne about her chronically ill child) the first time I read it.  I think all the funny details from the first stanza and the concrete external details from the second stanza distracted me, and then the turn in the last line hit me hard.

You can find out more about Suzanne at