The Circulating Nurse Enters the Operating Room

Cortney Davis

Let me not be blinded by the glare of the spotlight
or distracted by the tangle of plastic tubes,

the stink of anesthesia waiting in its multi-chambered
monolith of sleep. Let me stand beside the patient

and look into his eyes. Let me

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If it isn’t written in the chart, it didn’t happen

Christine Higgins

The doctor covers my mother’s hand

with his own hand. Her hand is

a speckled egg he is keeping warm.

The nursing assistant reaches out

to touch the yellow roses,

and murmurs, “Bonito.”

Several people come in and speak


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Blueberry Picking

Roz Levine

We ran from an outbreak of polio
Abandoned the Bronx for a summer hideaway
In the shadow of the Catskill Mountains
Each day we traipsed craggy trails
Stooped low beneath clear skies
Plucked mounds of dark blues
From bushes bursting

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The Eyes Have It

Johanna Shapiro

If you’re lucky
the doctor enthused
these drops will save your sight

Still trying to get my mind around
this new fact
that I was going blind
I asked about side effects

Hardly worth mentioning,
he said

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A Vitruvian Man

Tabor Flickinger

He marked a copy of da Vinci’s sketch
To map his ailments: drew an arrow from
The eye to cataracts, the feet nerve pain.

The groin said hernia, the navel at
The center of it all colostomy.
He offers up this artifact

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Albert Howard Carter III

(for NCC and RAC)

My wife lies in the little room,
tight as a drum, and even more convex.
She breathes hard as the contractions come.
The doctor, some 20 feet away,
shares his lunch with me,
the husband

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Martin Kohn

(for Helen)

This openness into
This brightness onto
This bodied and

This close
and blinking
This shutter stop

Your round soft
shoulder pillowed
beneath a feeble

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Scarves: a DVD

Holly Zeeb

I watched her
fling and tie
those scarves
so gracefully,

to adorn
her beautiful
shining head,
as if doves
might flutter forth.

Her steady voice
was gentle,
as if it were

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A Sigh on Rounds

Jerald Winakur

White coat, sterile gloves
my instrument dangling

but she finally died
after such a struggle–the young

always struggle so–
I listened to her chest

till it stopped then clicked
off the machine.

It sighed for us all as the

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The Cancer Center

Nancy Tune

First impression: New and well appointed,
staffed by friendly people and my favorite, irony.
In the clinic hallway a woman plays a harp.
I have come to learn about the process of
my dying; surely this is meant to shake me
free of

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Community Medicine

Kendra Fleagle Gorlitsky

Are you going to take that long with all the patients?
   Depends. If they’re really sick, I’ll have to.
I’m just saying…there are a lot waiting.
   Well, this one tried to kill herself last year. And today she’s really hurting.

I wanted a full

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Teaching the Wound

Joanne M. Clarkson

                    For LS

Assume pain, I tell them, the young, the
minimum-waged, those who work the midnight
shift with no chance for stars. We lean
over the bed of a 93-year-old man with advanced

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