Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

The Pump

W.D. Bumsted-Hind


The pump works,
but it’s leaking in a few places.
It’s not very efficient.

It’s been worked on several times,
but they can’t seem to fix it.

Can’t you try some stronger couplings?
Can’t you just use a backflow preventer?
How about a compression fitting?
Why not?
Keep trying.
Try harder.

It keeps leaking.

The experts tell us this isn’t an ordinary pump.
They claim this pump has several strange inlets and outlets.
They say this pump has been put in backwards.

With this pump,
you can’t just shut it off for a few hours to work on it.
There can be no appointments scheduled in advance,
there are only emergencies.

With this pump you can’t go online and order new parts.
This pump isn’t made of metal or plastic,
it’s made of tissue.

This pump doesn’t pump water,
it pumps blood.

With this pump,
replacing it with new parts



W.D. BUMSTED-HIND is a professor of law and politics at a liberal arts school in the Midwest. Poetry is the author’s outlet in dealing with the emotions of having a chronically ill child. Bumsted-Hind has previously been published in The Healing Muse.


Winter 2016  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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