The poet Lucie Brock-Broido, as described in Truth and Beauty

Lucie Brock-Broido was close friends with Lucy Grealy. Here Ann Patchett describes her at Grealy’s hospital bedside. Grealy was recovering from a horrific surgery that involved having bone from her calf, the fibula, inserted in her jaw:

Lucie B-B, as she was known in the company of Lucy Grealy, was standing by with a slender suction tube and suctioned her out with the efficiency of a surgical nurse. Because Lucy could neither lift nor turn her head, it was imperative that someone be there to suction her and it clearly wasn’t going to be anyone on staff. It seemed there were only two nurses on the entire floor and they raced by the room without looking in. We washed Lucy up and changed the pad beneath her shoulders, and all the while Lucie B-B made enthusiastic girl talk, as if she and Lucy were alone in a West Village coffee shop. “You look fantastic, LuLuBell,” she kept saying. “You are the envy of the surgical ward.” Lucie B-B was a tall, slim woman, very striking, with waist-length hair. She was dressed entirely in white, as if she thought she might be able to pass herself off as a nurse instead of a poet, but the nurses were all wearing pink-and-blue scrubs.


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