shackled. “it won’t stop.” bleeding. tears.
afrin. packing. another stream. frustration.
cocaine. nasal tampon. river. fear.
gel foam. surgicel. holding pressure. sigh of relief.
“damn. now it’s back to jail.”
caught up in his more urgent complaint, i failed to see the deeper roots of his anxiety and frustration. sometimes, only after addressing the immediate issue does the deeper one surface.
Papa always said,
Master your emotions.
CHOOSE not to think about Mama yellin’ ri’ now
You have a book report to finish.
It never worked, back then.
He would be so proud if he saw me now.
I put it together like beads on a string,
Tachy plus sweat,
Minus full breaths,
A PE in front of me and I was holding his back,
My hands steady
His skin sweaty
I was holding his back,
He kept ripping off his oxygen mask.
We stayed with him that night until his family came round,
Explaining tiredly that he changed his mind about his DNR status,
That he asked for the tube.
Reason dictates that I should have felt something visceral.
I should have wanted to scream,
Or punch something.
He was dying before my eyes.
I was thinking instead about a microwaveable enchilada in my fridge.
How this man was putting more hours between me, and it.
Papa always told me,
I grew up too fast, and did.
Dipika Gopal, MS4 at UCSD SOM
What is Birth? What is Death?
Are these two processes separate?
It is from birth only, that we can experience death.
In both, tears are shed with bated breath
Family is close and dear ones are informed
There is no better time to ritualize our form
But why do we anticipate birth
Yet run and hide from the horrid thought of death?
Is it change? Is it fear? Is it that we lose what we want so near?
A baby girl peers into the world with curiosity unmasked
While a dying man reflects into his soul, uncertainty unmasked
Birth and death form a circle
A circle of being of which life is only a part
The power of understanding this is just shy of a miracle
But once internalized can be passed from heart to heart.
So again I ask, What is Birth? What is Death?
Aren’t these two processes one and the same?