Leslie What

Writer, Editor, Caregiver, Teacher, Maskmaker, Mom

Writing

CRAZY LOVE
"Queen of Gonzo Leslie What (Olympic Games) drags love from its gooey, schmaltzy rut and takes it for a joyride in this exuberant collection. …Each tale grabs readers and demands they rethink how they see the myriad forms of love."
Publishers Weekly Starred Review

WHY I WASH THE DEAD
Originally published in Parabola, Copyright 2002 by Leslie What

The first time I touched a dead man, I was twenty-one, a student nurse on a rotation to ICU, bathing an elderly man whose failed heart required a pacemaker to spark his pulse. He was critically ill, unconscious, sheet pale, with a blue tinge to his lips.

On the monitor, a green line traveled like a fast train across the screen. Every second, the train jumped its tracks to climb over a peak. The peak took shape, then faded away. The machine beeped once a second, a now familiar sound because of television medical shows; at the time, it was a disorienting mechanical heartbeat. I washed my patient's face and neck, dipped the washcloth in the basin, and spread warm water across his chest.

My supervisor, a kindly RN with the compassion of a hundred mothers, watched me for a few seconds before placing one hand upon my shoulder.

"You don't need to finish," she said. "He's dead."

Read the rest here.

DOG EAT DOG
Copyright 2010 by Leslie What

Selected Works

Fiction
"… Invaluable advice on how to love… how to be human."
–Ursula K. Le Guin
Essay
"A powerful,  lean, direct, taut, sinewy, substantive, holy,  prayerful piece of work that matters"
–Brian Doyle
Short Story
Flash Fiction published in Serving House Journal

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