Thursday, November 27, 2014

[Poetry] I Heard You

"Physicians are not 'highly educated' but 'highly trained.'" - Dr. John Hoberman

Poem dedicated to E - 
Our time together was brief but blessed. Thank you for all you have taught me.

The soft whirring of the suction vacuum  
Fills the otherwise quiet room.
And the fluorescent light shines behind her bed and gives her
A glowing aura.

The end is particularly sobering
Especially as a soon-to-be practitioner of medicine
For I know all the signs and symptoms of death
Down to the molecular level it is instructed
And yet there is absolutely nothing to do
But wait.

I introduce myself
She raises her arm and waves her hand as if to say,
Even though her random movements
Are just pathology of finality.

But do they have to be?

Is it such a travesty to pretend that she greeted me upon my entrance?
Call me a victim of denial, but I see life until one’s last breath
And it is so crazy to assume she welcomed me
Allowed me to sit at her bedside with her gesture?
Look, her curly hair has little pigtails!
Her fingernails are painted a red so vibrant!

I can tell how much she is loved
Her family and friends sent the nicest cards.
And I remind her of that love.

If only she could speak, what might she say?
Would she tell me about her life? Her career? Her family?
Or perhaps just that the spot on her right leg is really itchy
And the gloves the nurses put on her hands are certainly not helping.

This one sided communication reminds me
She can hear my words.
With one corporal sense.
It allows our connection
As a Jew reads Psalms to a Christian woman
With a worn Bible found at her bedside
She can hear our similar tradition-

And she strokes my hand.
A soul lives inside.

It is believed our ability to hear is last lost in death.
How beautiful to live one’s entire life with the ability to listen!
If only we always appreciated this gift with all senses intact.

I pray you forgave
The resident physician who spoke so callously
To you…at you…actually, it was above you 
She forgot your humanity in your final days
And I tried so desperately to defend you from her apathy.

My dear, silent, fading friend
I promise we are not all like her.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

[Poetry] A Fire Not Yet Lit

"I don't have much time left on this Earth, so please listen. Remember to take the time to learn about others' cultures. Ask where they are from. Connect. Oh, and learn a second language, or you will die in medicine. Think of me when you are driving your Porsche." - from a patient, who will not be forgotten.

perfection is a myth-
of this i am well aware
but is the feeling of adequacy,
or at least recognition, so impossible to

"just try your best"
such is the advice of the Naive,
untouched by troubles, Their privileged status
embracing Their success, protecting Them from life's harsh

Their words fall flat
in fact They twist the dagger deeper
do They truly not believe i weave with care
every thread of my very being into my actions and

these People, Friends by title i suppose,
for i recognize They mean no harm.
They do not think before speaking.
Their comments: just forethought.

with no words, with no meaning,
They are proudly praised! every move.
every act. and for every blindly parroted

whereas Society has left me
stranded in the ice.
i am confused,
left alone,

my love provides the foundational kindling
and my purposeful voice added tinder.
but in a world devaluing my offerings,
i am left without a

there is a rumor in the icy whispers
that someday there will be a match for me.
but until then, i stand around a fire not yet lit,
the unforgiving, cold wind shakes my core, and i fear permanent