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.
Jake was seven, pale and sweating
in that huge hospital bed,
wearing Spiderman underwear
an IV in each arm.
After 15 minutes of CPR,
the lead pediatrician said
there was nothing else we could do.
As I pushed my portable X-ray
machine past the parents standing
hand in hand in the waiting room
they turned to me, their eyes
full of hope, as if I were the one
who would bring them the news
they needed, but I wasn’t, so I turned
away, made it to the elevator
before I heard the mother scream,
a sound, even now, I can still hear.