Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Four-leaf clover

Upreet Dhaliwal
Delhi, India


Poet’s statement: You may have “doctored” for a million years, and you may have learned to hide your pain at hurts you couldn’t heal, but nothing quite prepares you for the loss of a beloved child.


Four-leaf clover

When you arrived
You brought sunshine and clouds;
Optimism and despair;
You brought life and death;
Made me theist and disbeliever.

When they brought you out
I was still groggy.

Photography by Umberto Salvagnin

I opened one eye,
Looking for your father.
Calling for him, I asked after you.

He nodded.
I didn’t see the tears through my one open eye.

Gobindi …
We named you before you were born.
Thank Goodness for such presumption;
We had such little time.
Until you came we didn’t know,
We had next to no time …

By the time I woke again
They had taken you for surgery.
I saw your father talking to the doc,
Whispering so I wouldn’t hear.
I shivered.
Something’s wrong …

I watched your father weep later as he told me,
and held me as I held him.

My princess, I wonder …
Was it something I did?
Something I didn’t do?
Was it me at all?

Or was it as your father said,
Nature is not always perfect …
Nature makes the four-leaf clover
As surely as she does the one with three leaves.
You were my four-leafed clover!
But you were perfect!
Even if Nature wasn’t …



DR. UPREET DHALIWAL, MS, is a full-time ophthalmologist at University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, as well as a medical educator, parent, and part-time fiction writer. Her blog is at www.sulekha.com.


Highlighted in Frontispiece Spring 2011 – Volume 3, Issue 2

Spring 2011   |  Sections  |  Poetry

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