Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, Illinois, United States
I sit in the hallway with old magazines
from last winter, listening to the buzz
and chirp of the enormous magnet
attracting and spinning his hydrogen
protons that were once part of me,
ageless interstellar dust, the remains
of stars and galaxies that have come
to rest in his body, flat on the exam
table. I can do nothing for him but
wait, breathe in and out, moving air
silently while his inner universe spins.
BONNIE SALOMON, MD, is an emergency physician with Northwestern Medicine, and a lecturer in medical ethics in the Chicago area.