John A. Vanek, MD
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Poet’s statement: Poetry provides a vehicle that takes me to places that logic won’t go, a way of understanding the incomprehensible, both in life and in medicine. I now prescribe poetry PRN, but warn that it may hurt a little. My poems are peopled with my family, friends, and patients.
for Mr. S.We spent a month together.
I cared for you,
you loathed me.I knew every inch of your body,
spent time with your wife
and daughter, sharedyour most intimate secrets,
blood counts, lung capacity,
saw the hatred in your eyes.You wanted me to leave
you alone, let your motionless
lips, body, diaphragm
carry you soundlessly away
I wasn’t there the day
to the rest of your life,
but today in the park
and I remembered you,
|Photography by Palo|
|Photography by Metamerist||Vanishing twin2
From the very beginning, we were
On our birthday, conflicting tides
They say that twins can feel
Let’s play a game
- Guillain–Barré is an autoimmune disease that paralyzes the legs and arms first, then the diaphragms preventing breathing, but leaves the patient completely alert and aware. These patients can recover nearly all function if they survive.
- In 15 percent of twin pregnancies, one fetus dies in the womb (Vanishing Twin Syndrome).
JOHN A. VANEK, MD, is a physician and poet with works published in numerous literary journals and university press anthologies, such as Red, White and Blues: Poets on the Promise of America, as well as such diverse publications as the Journal of the American Medical Association and Biker Ally—The Motorcycle Magazine Geared For Women. He has read his poetry at the George Bush Presidential Library, the Akron Art Museum, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, and Eckerd College. His first full-length book of poetry, entitled Heart Murmurs: Poems, is available in print and on Kindle from Amazon.com. He has now retired from his private practice in diagnostic radiology. Both of these poems were originally published in The Examined Life Journal, a publication of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.