Pulse will accept poetry submissions through December 31
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Aarya Krishnan Rajalakshmi ~
Tonight was yet another night on call in our emergency department--a chilly winter night on which I did a cruel deed: I discharged a homeless man back out into the cold.
This is a routine event in the life of psychiatry residents like myself. Normally, no one would bat an eye. It shouldn't have mattered to me, either--except that the previous night I'd had to walk home from the hospital parking garage in decidedly adverse weather.
The streets were covered with slush and ice, which, along with the heavy rain and bitter winds, made my usually effortless fifteen-minute walk a nightmare. As wind gusts kept upturning my umbrella, I struggled to manage it while also trying to keep my feet from slipping on the ice.
Erika D. Walker ~
I stare at my chicken patty,
the limp lettuce, pale tomato
sliver, open the small
mayonnaise packet, even though
I don’t eat mayonnaise.
I pour my milk, set the carton
on the table, slide aside
the red Jell-O. If I don't look
up, I won’t be where I am.
Father wears a blue dress shirt,
not his own, stares,
not speaking, not noticing
the shirt is buttoned wrong,
brown stain on the front.
His hair stands straight up
and wild, blown by some private
windstorm. A woman alone
at the next table, tied
Warren Holleman ~
2017 was a heartbreaking year for our family.
To start things off, my wife's parents--both of them!--were diagnosed with terminal illnesses. We spent the next few months immersed in the painful, complex process of transitioning them to home hospice care and beginning to face and grieve the prospect of their deaths.
In the midst of this, Hurricane Harvey began heading towards Houston, our hometown. My wife, Marsha, drove to her parents' ranch, south of the city, intending to bring them back to our home, on higher ground. But the heavy rains arrived a day earlier than expected, trapping Marsha and her parents for three terrifying days and nights in their flooded house.