In a different life,
I took scalpel to skin,
cut through fibrous layers of muscle and fascia
to the very deepest core of our biology,
in bodies dead and alive.
I have held a heart in my own hand,
felt its indescribable pulsating power.
I have witnessed the first cries
of a baby being born,
and in the next room,
heard the last extinguishing breath,
the final rattle sigh,
as I watched the spirit of death
sweep through the spaces between us.
All of it,
every singular moment of doctoring
was majestic and terrifying
somehow all at once,
bringing me face to face
with how little we know,
how hard we try,
how fragile we are,
as soft as the riverbed veins
that glow through our translucent paper skin.
Now I save lives in a different sort of way,
wielding the scalpel of deep compassion,
the CPR of Prozac,
breathing life, hope, desire
into dead spirits,
and watch synapses spark and flicker
through hours of witnessing and journeying
And all of this, somehow
no more or less important
than the medicine of poetry,
these words that are life too,
the stories that hold us
through eternal moon-less nights.
Whatever allows us to reach across
these widening spaces
and speak the truth however we can,
a knowing that all we have
in the end is each other,
you and me,
my hand reaching for yours,
and the love that rescues us.