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Tag: doctor poems


Her idea of a date is splitting
a six-pack with her husband
Friday nights while milking the cows,
still weary from her day job.
Swollen udders demand attention
twice daily regardless
of her daughter’s ball games,
her mother’s terminal cancer.

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Brain Scan

I slide into the MRI machine.
Sleds slide downhill, propelled by their own weight;
my movement’s horizontal, made through means

outside of my control: a man in green
scrubs bops a button, turning me to freight
that’s fed into the MRI machine.

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And What Is Beautiful

if not a healing wound?
toes missing, trans-metatarsal amputation,
remaining tissue puckering deep pink:
raw beauty in disfigurement.

He shows me pictures on his cell phone,
the toes felt doused with molten metal.
Before debridement: brown-black,
the foot decaying like a leaf in winter.

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Gold and Iron

They add colloidal gold
to glass, sometimes,
to make that ruby color. They heat it,

render it liquid and viscous, and
when it is just right,
the master glassblower blows into it,

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Apparition of ice and stone:
How it swells above the highway,
over small cars and upturned eyes.

It sits on high. Pristine
and remote from me,
exalts me and cuts me
down to size.

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The Weight of the Soul

Dr. MacDougall measured the weight
of a human soul by placing a man
on a sensitive scale just before death
and weighing him a second time after.

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Our Hands

Braid a child’s hair in precise beaded rows

And shave a scalp just enough to access
Skin flap, skull, brain, tumor

Fold over a learner’s fingers to guide a needle
This angle here with this much pressure
Slide together into a hidden space

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Good Enough

Three weeks after my mastectomy, I traveled south.
I slung my carry-on bag crosswise over my body
and jostled my way through the airport, the bag
in front of me, to form a barrier, protecting my incision.
I let my arm rest on the bag,
to take the tension off the shoulder.

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Dying Is Ugly

Bang my shins, my temple on the gritty wall
Of Charlie’s deathbed
Where we do not wrest the truth
But beg him Let us change the (piss-stenched) sheets.
He will not go for tests, insists, denial overarching

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          Contact: from the Latin for touch.
          Isolate: from the Latin for island.

Because your breath had touched mine,
I was obliged to metamorphose
into a separate land mass,
to wear a collar of brine
like a heavy gurgling yoke

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Seated on My Hospital Bed

My seventh-floor window vibrates,
          the room throbs in crescendo
as a rescue helicopter stitches
          a curved seam across the sky
bound for Children’s Hospital.

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A cluster, I say,
so small – see? I can cover it
with the tip of my finger. Tiny little
calcifications. I show
you the mammogram.

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