29 October 2013


My grandmother posted on facebook tonight that she had cookies and Ensure for dinner.  First, I laughed. Then, struck by the reality of the situation, I cried.

20 October 2013

Dear Mark,

Ten minutes off the top of my  head. Ok. I can do this.  Thank you for making me stretch in public. 

To your question:  Yes. 

Sometimes I do feel bad because I don't think of my patients beyond the moments that I'm with them.  I am a paper bag and they are a torrent, a waterfall my thin brown paper skin can not contain.  I care - I do! Genuinely! - standing over them, helping them undress, asking them about their childhoods and grandchildren as I pierce their flesh, the bevel of my needle always pointing up.  When I walk away, I usually don't blink.  I've got plenty of my own sad shit, you know?

There is one woman who never leaves me, though.  During sleepless nights I imagine her on H Street and wonder if she's safe or if her baby  (a girl) is still alive.  My prayers for her are simple: a coat, enough food, please Lord don't you let her walk in front of the X2 barreling toward Benning Road late at night.  She stumbled through the door at 18:50, I picked up her chart at 18:57.  It was a Thursday.  A man was waiting for me. I'd made chocolate mousse for dessert.  My skin was clear and the sky was pink and yellow.  We were poised to be young and beautiful. I almost put down the chart.  Nobody keeps triaging through shift change.

It took her a few minutes to gather up her baby and all the plastic bags, to cross the lobby and fall into the chair in my triage room.  I don't know why I didn't put down the chart.  The appeal of saving the world left when my adopted brothers moved in long long ago.  That's not my downfall.  Chest pain, breast pain, stomach pain, itching.  The bottoms of her earlobes were split in two where someone had yanked the gold hoops down through the flesh. She'd found duct tape, pieced them together. She'd pierced her new grey flesh. Her gold hoops were back where they belonged.

That was 13 minutes, but only because I looked up the medical term for earlobe because it bothers me how much I've forgotten, the things I forget.

As ever,

16 October 2013


guy 1  (g)
A rope, cord, or cable used to steady, guide, or secure something.

18 September 2013

Lord Knows Best

that I don't give a damn

about anyone but you. 

15 June 2013

I forgot my shirt at the water's edge

The first night swim of the summer.

The moon a perfect lonely arc, a bracing shot of bourbon against the midnight air,
and everyone asleep apart from me and the guy playing old Springsteen down at the fish camp,
far beyond the dark edge of the deep end.

13 June 2013


It rains and rains and rains.  

The wrong things grow. The wrong things die.