Sunday, February 10, 2008

expectant care

I stumbled across it
Talking about job interviews
And how I struggled to get away from the office
Without raising red flags
In a sea of red flags.
And then of my patients waiting
In pale green rooms.
And how I do the best I can.

It came in images
And I drew him the outline
With clumsy but sure words.
This time I did not need his help.
His eloquence, or his impeccable memory.

I figured out what it is
That pulls my skin along the asphalt
Like a car accident and the stomach flu
Or airplanes,
Long metal cylinders
With human vessels piled inside,
Hopeful faces in oval windows
Going places.
Humans with their body fluids
Held back by an impartial membrane;
Bodies filled with all that we are made of
But hold back and call dignity.

The opposite of dignity is shame.
And while it is inevitably leeched out in the dirt
So often it is stripped against our will
Leaving us naked,
Outside the showers,
Smelling of fear and bowels.

I discovered this and let him have it
And it floated between us in the room
And as ugly as it was,
Settling there at our feet
On a cold February night,
He took it like a gift.

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