Cure

Veneta Masson

In Latin it means care,
conjures priests and temples
the laying on of hands
sacred pilgrimage
sacrifice
the sickbed
invalid and
solemn attendants.

How far we have come.
Today’s English 
has neatly expunged 
these purely human elements.
Cure is impersonal, consequential
unequivocal, sometimes violent–
the annihilation 
of the thing that ails.

This nurse 
approaching the patient
has discarded temple garb
for practical scrubs. 
His gloved hands 
unsheathe the magic bullet,
shoot it through the central line
where it locks onto the target cells.

For the not-yet-cured,
there is still sacred pilgrimage–
that dogged slog
to the high tech shrine,
the health food store,
the finish line of the annual race
where, etched on each undaunted face, 
is a gritty tale of survival.

About the poet:

Veneta Masson RN is a nurse and poet living in Washington, DC. She has written three books of essays and poems, drawing on her experiences over twenty years as a family nurse practitioner and director of an inner-city clinic. Information about her poetry collection Clinician’s Guide to the Soul is available at sagefemmepress.com.

About the poem:

“What started me on the path toward this poem was my ambivalence about symbolic ribbons of all colors, the burgeoning number of annual ‘races for the cure’ and the question of what the word ‘cure’ actually means nowadays. Along the way, I was able to clarify my own feelings and deepen my appreciation of the meanings that ‘the race’ may hold for others.”

Poetry editors:

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro

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