An Anthology of Poetry and Medicine


by Nan Darbous Marthaller

they talk in jargon
explaining procedures
lost in the hum and click of electronic charting
they have scanned
they monitor
heads nod
eyes narrow
lips purse and ask
an answer
my head swims
don’t move
take slow breaths
just relax
i think my responses
the words don’t come
but machines don’t lie
                               they say
the facts are
an immediate decision is necessary
do you need time to think
it’s not a question
i close my eyes
we need a decision
i feel the room breathing
there is no time
i feel it fading
quickly must act quickly
i feel nothing
          and hear only the deep
                                      heavy beating of a heart


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