Earth to Earth

You would have loved the simple maple box.
Corners smoothed and lid sealed tight,
we haven’t tried to pry it open yet.
It weighs more than I would have guessed,

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Even Now

Two decades ago, during my first week
as an X-ray tech, I watched a boy die.
He was, thankfully, not a boy I knew
or loved but one I’d gone to X-ray.

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Fourteen Months

from your ship in Vietnam.
Love letters.
Six pages in one of them
on the thin Navy stationary,
listing the ways you loved me.

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This Is How You Cope With Cancer

Bleach your hair,

get drunk on champagne,

pretend the left and right halves of your face are the exact same,

ignore and deny it, laugh loudly–too loudly,

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I Should Have Said No

Can you see this patient today?
His appointment is tomorrow,
he came all the way from Nebraska.
Can you work extra tomorrow,
we are short, just four hours extra?
Would you be able to work Christmas this year?

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Flashback

I notice the name on the waiting room
tab; it’s not a remarkable name,
but one I remember
from elementary school

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Blue Book

Days before she died

my mother stood in line,

took a picture for a passport—

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Walnut Shells and BRCA

If I was going to write a poem,
It would be–
It probably shouldn’t be–
About how much I hate the dog.
The way he licks his paws for hours
In the middle of the night
When the baby is no longer crying.

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Things My Wife Left in the ICU

A pacemaker and defibrillator

Sheets pressed hard with suffering

Seven fingers and one arm, gangrenous dead

Unknown liters of blood

Failed kidneys

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Decision

B546 wants to die
eight years after they saved her.
Cervical-cord injuries are cruel.
For Maria it was a gunshot,
but it could have been a car wreck, a fall,
or a drunken misstep off a roof.
The reasons seemed to matter; now they

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Medical Home

A model or philosophy of primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible and focused on quality and safety.   –Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative

It’s a philosophy
not a place.
I get it.
Certainly we never used that term
to describe what we offered
there

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