When we first met, my heart pounded. They said the shock of it was probably what broke his heart. In search of peace, we traveled once to Finland, tasted reindeer heart. It seemed so heartless, how you wanted it to end. I noticed on the nurse who took his pulse a heart tattooed above her collarbone. The kids
sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox
Hospital Writing Workshop
Arriving late, my clinic having run past 6 again, I realize I don’t have cancer, don’t have HIV, like them, these students who are patients, who I lead in writing exercises, reading poems. For them, this isn’t academic, it’s reality: I ask that they describe an object right in front of them, to make it come alive, and one writes about death, her death, as if by just imagining the softness of its skin, its panting rush into her lap, that she might tame it; one observes instead the love he lost, he’s there, beside him in his gown and wheelchair, together finally again. I take a good, long breath; we’re quiet as newborns. The little conference room grows warm, and right before my eyes, I see that what I thought unspeakable was more than this, was hope.