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Editor's Commentary on 'Cowboy'

 , March 28, 2014

“It was hard to know how to be – / How to hold my head. / Whether I could nod or mmm-hmmm / Without losing some of myself”.

The uncomfortable position of sitting opposite a patient who makes you cringe, tossing out phrases that are not “overtly racist, / Just objectionably offensive.” At these times, it is hard to keep from looking longingly at the door, awaiting escape. This week’s poet, Benjamin Perin, found himself in this position. The reader can sense the tension between doctor and patient, but then talk wanders to the patient’s brother, “Cowboy”. Despite the vast differences between the poet and the patient, a common memory of a brother’s lasting influence pulled them into the same reality, threads of humanity intertwined momentarily. A brief memory, an open mind, and they were able to hack through the foliage to the present, “towards things of this world: 
diabetes medication, 

hip surgery, 
alcoholics anonymous.”

Bryan Sisk, MD
Deputy Editor, The Living Hand