(Dedicated to the late Dr. Lorna Breen)


How does it feel to blaze

unmapped trails in bare feet,

just a stethoscope

as compass?


How do you bear the weight of being

the final say, life or death in the balance–

praying you get it right.


Hands you cannot hold

grasp at life.

Fierce coughs,

fevered delirium.

No way to turn off

the volume.


Placing breathing tubes in the morning,

toe tags at night.

Some nightmares don’t dispel

at dawn.


What thought screamed before

scalpel sliced skin with precision

gleaned from years

of cutting

out a body’s ills?


What final thought before crimson






Who was there to hold and heal

the healer?


Who placed the toe tag

on the doctor’s unshod feet?