A painting with a quotation from the beautiful mind Dr. Rita Charon (specifically, her book Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness)
We search the horizon … seeking ways to recognize ourselves and those around us, yearning to place ourselves within space and time (and infinity), dramatizing our stuborn beliefs that life means something and that we ourselves matter.
a medical condition
where blood clot formation is reduced, resulting in:
a tendency to bleed after minor trauma
I wonder if the silence between us
is shared or
plastered onto our collective togetherness
like a sharp wallpaper that
seems to only give you paper cuts
that won’t stop bleeding.
Is it possible to stop remembering the hurt, already?
Stop bleeding, already.
Dizzy. Hypovolemic shock
He only spoke Arabic.
I showed him my Hamsa necklace,
Something we have in common.
He held it and started praying.
The skin on her hands peeled in small flakes, hesitant to fall.
Amongst the flakes were small wounds, spots of dried blood.
In the few spots missing both flakes and wounds, the skin was pink.
I held this hand in mine.
I held this skin to mine.
I filled my palm with hand cream, circling
her knuckles and the flakes
She closed her eyes and smiled.
The visitor’s chair had sheets on it
So I sat down on her walker.
I asked what I always ask first (How is your day going?)
She said what she always says first (It’s okay)
Then she added (But my sister didn’t show up. She was supposed to
I try to make her feel better (I’m sorry. She’ll visit soon?
Maybe one of your other siblings can visit too?)
The woman in front of me burst into tears on the hospital bed.
(She’s the only one that visits me.)
She wiped the tears with her hand still underneath her sheet.
I shift closer. I am sitting on her bed. She is sobbing with her mouth open.
Her tears fill the bags beneath her eyes.
I bring her a tissue and the skin sags with each dabbing.
The IV tube blocks her hand from mine (It hurts; they just put it in a few minutes ago.
The nurse had bad fingers.)
I remain seated without much to say. ( )
Doctors walk by.
I am tumbling through my internal organs
Looking for a sweet
enough to cushion my own punches
I bounce from wall to wall and from tissue to t-
Unable to internalize my own self
Unable to integrate into my own being
Smoothly enough that I might feel whole,
Quickly enough that I might not get lost
It is taking me time to digest you
To digest the act of having left you
To leave you left and undigested