A Poem by Monisha Vasa

Monisha Vasa

What did I miss
when I was looking the other way?

All those moments when I was
looking down instead up,
backwards and forwards,
instead of right here,
tell me,
what did I not see?

I long to know how it feels
for nothing to be too small—
your name, the feeling of
lips and hands and how
the light warms your skin.

The way it feels to breathe
in cold air or taste rain,
or touch paper and pen and
feel my words before dreams
take over and I am lost.

I know, while I wasn’t looking,
wrinkles and creases appeared
and the leaves turned and fell,
and children grew into the
people they were meant to be.

I know, while I wasn’t looking,
we forgot who we were.

Still the hands keep spinning,
while I try to remember,
how to see with my heart.

Dr. Monisha Vasa is a psychiatrist and writer based in Orange County, California.  She is currently a scholar of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, and integrates her medical background, writing, and narrative medicine studies in her work with medical humanities and physician well-being.  She has published two children's books, and is soon to publish her first book of poetry, entitled "Salve:  Words For The Journey."  

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The Uncertainty of Night

A Poem by Ann E. Wallace

Ann E. Wallace

As hours meant to be quiet
and easy, shuffle by,
parceled into slow
minutes, I invite you
into my narrow bed.

You resist but need
an hour’s release before
you leave to direct the morning
funeral. You curl tight
beside me under the cotton
blanket. We share
the thin pillow.

Behind our curtain
in the staccato quiet
of the emergency
room, we sleep interrupted
by persistent beeps, by nurses
who take vitals, by doctors
who enter with probing
questions and hands. Your
answers project calm as I lay
prone, the panic building.

At dawn you leave
to calm the grief
of families not your own,
but first, you sit
in my car and sob,
as I am wheeled alone
into the operating
room where a team
will continue to look
for answers.

First published in Eunoia Review

Ann E. Wallace’s poetry collection, Counting by Sevens, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag and is available now for advance order at https://mainstreetragbookstore.com/product/counting-by-sevens-ann-e-wallace/. Recently published pieces in journals such as Snapdragon, Wordgathering, The Literary Nest, Rogue Agent, and Riggwelter can be found on her website AnnWallacePhD.com. She lives in Jersey City, NJ and is on Twitter @annwlace409.

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Among the deep listeners in Deep Listening 101

A Poem by Daniel M. Becker, MD

Daniel Becket with Boat

Among the deep listeners in Deep Listening 101
By Daniel M. Becker, MD

are music majors taking the class for credit
and an auditor on Social Security

who can only hum one note and that’s the note he hums.
Overtones find a major chord.  Then we march off and find a place to sit
and list the sounds while building castles out of sound.

Listening is the hardest thing a brain does
according to listening psychologists
soliciting grants and donations.

It is now possible to follow sound into the brain
and map its journey up the brainstem and into the attic.
Some sounds turn on all the lights.
Other sounds turn them off.

In one creation myth human ears fly like bats
from one echo to another.
The bats returning to our attic

don’t trigger the motion detector in our driveway.
It takes poetic license to claim that motion detectors listen

unless the motion detector is a sleeping dog
who wakes up to announce the UPS truck in the driveway.
Look around, listen up:  there are worlds beyond our thresholds.

>During the field trip inside the sound free chamber,
those strangers pounding at the door? 
Heart beats.

  After 44 years of medical practice and teaching, Daniel Becker retired from the Department of Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine on June 30, 2018.  He was rehired, after passing a background check and showing his passport to UVA HR and ace-ing the aging doctors cognitive exam, four months later.  He teaches med students a half day a week, covers clinic when the schedule is desperate, and sees patients at the outpatient opioid treatment clinic.  Whether building castles out of sound (as in the poem) or wooden boats, he likes making things.

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