In Latin it means care,
conjures priests and temples
the laying on of hands
How far we have come.
has neatly expunged
these purely human elements.
Cure is impersonal, consequential
unequivocal, sometimes violent–
of the thing that ails.
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.”
Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro