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Medical Humanities

Comfort Measures

Alok Sachdeva

Peaceful and fearful in turn,
the skittish filmstrip merges
disparate continents of memory:

dinners, hills, necks, ashes.
Then you turn to me;
your eyes and mouth are open

as you make your escape,
leaping from your stagnant lymph.
The rain applauds your pulseless triumph.

A vigil gathers around you
as loss descends—your dense body
sinks in the mattress.

I listen to the silence of your arrested heart—
What more can I do for you
to ease your suffering?

Alok Sachdeva is a resident physician in the Department of Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a graduate of the Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM)  in Detroit, Michigan, where he helped found the WSU SOM Writing Workshop and Brain Candy, a journal dedicated to the medical humanities.