A Poem.

BY MELANIE POWER

The following piece was a part of the Writing (Clinical) section of The Auricle’s 2021 Writing and Visual Art Competition and is responding to the prompt “Where the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” Uttered by Hippocrates millennia ago, has this adage stood the test of time?“

the boy
cannot explain
his swelling anxiety


the need he has
to be in that room
holding her
a minute ago
a day ago
years ago
to make up for lost time


his need builds
with every step
towards her
why has it taken him so long?
to hold her
to breathe her in
to look into her blue eyes


the doctor
cannot hide
his welling tears


the grief he has
to see his patient
of unfaltering strength
now cachectic
of unwavering selflessness
now taking greedy breaths
into sunken cheeks

yet the beauty of it all
makes his heart ache
the record playing
the flower in her hair
her hand resting
on the head bowed
at her bedside

how he wants
to kneel there too
to clasp her hand and explain
the privilege it has been
to observe her
navigate toward death
with such grace

but it’s not about him
it’s about the boy
who stays at her bedside
day and night
watching with anxious eyes
the person he knows
is fleeting


an eternity passes
and the boy arrives
bursting inside he finally sees
her sitting in her chair
by the record player
as she always did
when she was well


wordlessly she opens her arms
and the boy rushes toward them
wrapping himself in them
fleetingly
achingly
breathing her in
finding home in her blue eyes


but then
his own eyes open
and the boy cannot explain
the tears that fall


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