Poetry on Duty


80th Hour

by Wynne Morrison, M.D.

All night I pace a course around your bed,
pausing to feel your pulse too many times.
I try to reassure your anxious eyes,
skeptical of the monitor’s dancing lines.
Morning comes but I can barely leave,
convinced by this point I’ve kept you alive,
not noticing my hand falls from the page,
words flattening like the foothills to the plains.
Home seems a dream, but dreams bring mayhem too,
filled with the bells and sirens of my day.
At least it’s empty on the eastbound street;
I roll down windows, sing out loud to fend off sleep.
Lids close as all goes silent on your screen,
I start awake to see my light is green.

N.B. Winner of “Five Years of Duty Hours” poetry contest which gives a poignant glimpse of a doctor’s life with a patient. American Medical Association (gme@ama-assn.org September 10, 2008) Photo Credit: Highschoolphotojournalist =0=

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