A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.



We need to place a bloom of wires
under the white awnings of her face
into her neck
between white curtains of hair
under white wrinkles
To better access her heart, of course.

This is how I meet her
So she seems so frail, small,
unwell—so she seems—

Until she speaks to me

About the fish
her sons used to catch for her
each a different color;

About the day years ago
they brought her a yellowfin tuna
so fresh and perfect
she could have never afforded it;

How she cooked the rosy meat so carefully
in garlic and pepper
and ate in small bites
so that she would remember even today
the red tang, the lovely rush—

She calls her boys’ arms Strong,
those arms and faces she herself raised up above her,
above the father who loved bottles more;
She raised high, those arms, long ago
to catch the all-colored sea.

They are here now, waiting beside her
And before it happens
before the wires come
before her heart is accessed,
Strong arms move close to the window;

Each son places a scarlet bloom
under the white awnings
into the vase
between white curtains
under white
To better access her heart, of course.


This poem originally appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, December 1, 2015, issue. Used with permission.


Comments are closed.