Touch: The Journal of Healing



November Sunset

    by James S. Wilk

The hospital’s functional chair is too firm.

I need a comfortable lap in which to sit.

the shadows on the street are long-faced.

The sun slouches somewhere down Ninth Avenue

beyond the narrow window’s panorama.

A single wizened crabapple leaf hangs

with a death-grip against the wind

on a bough beyond the windowpane.

It’s already crispy. But it won’t let go

to join its branch-mates crumbling

on the street below. The wind,

the cars, the scrounging of the ravens —

all soundless from within the insulated clinic.

We smoke the hum of fax machines,

sip the steaming commotion of the phone,

dine on lab and radiology reports.

“…size consistent with an 8-6/7 weeks’ gestation.

No fetal cardiac activity is identified …”

Dead a week inside her without even

a cramp or flow of blood to let her know,

and I must reveal the ultrasound’s whispered shame.

For me, another D&C to do, another leaf upon a bough

which shakes against a bare ruined choir.

For her, an everlasting sunset in November.

© 2015  James S. Wilk

James S. Wilk is a physician in Denver specializing in medical disorders complicating pregnancy. In addition to previous issues of Touch: The Journal of Healing, his poems have appeared in The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Healing Muse, Ars Medica, and others. His chapbook of medical poems, The Seven Year Night: Poems of the Medical Training Experience, is available at Big Table Press.

Copyright © 2015

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.