Literary Orphans

Gangrene by Mary Kate Crenny



At the foot of his hospital bed,

my skin gets wrinkly in my nitrile gloves.

how can I call a leg a leg? I hold a mirror.

I speak (touch ’em) my instructions.

With cautious fingertips,

He plays his stitches pianississimo

Freshly plucked strings vibrate through synapses,

Singing, “This is where I end now.”


Once upon a time (when a leg was definitively a leg),

He asked, “Can I see the wound?”

But-why-now’s sweat into my mouth.

Ever-red sprouted through mud and coal,

And, tasting all yellowish-green,

the necrosis settled in my mouth.

His diabetic eyeballs uttered a


I didn’t catch.

O Typekey Divider

Mary Kate Crenny is a registered nurse in Philadelphia. She graduated from Fordham University, having earned the Margaret Lamb/Writing to the Right-Hand Margin Prize for Fiction. She also holds a degree in Nursing from Villanova University.


O Typekey Divider

–Art by Marina Ćorić

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