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Medical Humanities

Grief and Other Remedies

Submitted by Elaine Hsiang

Published July 20, 2019

Moved in. Worked my heart
until it could sit quietly.

Found the most beautiful part of her story
I could hold in my hands.

With an eye to years ago,
I saw who she would be by now

& shattered the mirror.
Hard not to reach for the pieces

on the floor labeled “anger,”
& sleep with the curtains still drawn.

To be faced with this & another
city one weekend, & hear

the people she’d cared for coming home
or staying to fill an already tender tooth.

I came to sob into a singing lap.
I came to write about prayer

without dislodging omen after omen
from the place where chest meets throat.

To be offered small silence, or a new prognosis
in front of her garden.

The raspberries from the farmer’s market
best saved to cure a nightmare.

An urge for medicine
to have more than one meaning.

Note: A previous version of "Grief, and other remedies" was awarded second prize in the 15th Annual Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Award at Baylor College of Medicine.

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