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Posts Tagged ‘rash’

Doctors, said the professor

to the room of fresh pre-meds,

know this:

Eighty percent of the people

you treat will get better

even if you do nothing.

Ten percent will heal because

of what you do. And ten percent

will get worse because of what you do.

Let’s begin.

Tonight, as my daughter’s skin

blooms increasingly red—

a rash staining her trunk,

her face, her limbs—I consider

what the professor said.

She is long past the age

where I can heal things

with a kiss. Still, I kiss her,

knowing this to be the best medicine

eighty percent of the time.

I give her a dose of jokes,

and prescribe another chapter

of The Silver Chair. We read

as the red grows angrier.

She laughs when I tell her

at least she didn’t break her arm

or lose all of her hair.

I hate how helpless I feel.

Though I did not enter

the rooms of dissection

nor memorize tomes

of bones and diseases and cures,

I still have the longing

to heal, to remove the pain, to nurse.

If she is afraid, she does not show it.

I disguise my fear. I give her

another kiss. It won’t, at least,

make anything worse.

*with thanks to Dr. John Belka for the story that opens this poem.

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Amen

Today God is perhaps like a rash
that terribly blooms
on your leg. Red blisters
on a raised red patch.
For nearly two weeks,
it is all you can think about.
What to eat for dinner and
it itches. The children need
milk and it itches. The sky!
it’s so pink at dawn and
it itches. It is your best friend’s
birthday and it itches. Israel
conducts an airstrike into Syria
and it itches. This is how
I have wanted God to show up—
hand in hand with everything.
I have wanted to not forget,
to not be distracted by the events
of the world, to find God
in the every fold of the day.
God in the tea cup. God in
the stop sign. God in the empty
dish. God in the brush.
This is not what I had in mind,
this pain, this incessant urge
to shred my own skin, to scratch
what cannot be touched.
But it’s working. All eclipsed.
God in everything.
In the incessant tug of it,
the red, deep pain of it,
the calling to bow to it
now and now and now.

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