Poetry – Hektoen International

Maimed

Laura Wendorff Platteville, Wisconsin, USA   Your friend says, Photo by Laura Wendorff think of the Amazons who cut off their right breasts in order to easily draw back their bows. But the loss is not like that. It’s more like a flower dug out of the ground, soil still clinging to its roots like […]

New Year’s Eve, Old Presbyterian Hospital

Jacob Appel New York, New York, USA   PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL, MADISON AVENUE AND EAST 70TH STREET King’s Handbook of New York City, 1893. Public Domain. The gift shop is closed. Only a graveyard Skeleton crew in the pharmacy, a solitary Cleaner orbiting a mop across the skyway. Below lights blinking red green red through Dark and frigid […]

Taking a History in the ICU: Social: Does your husband still smoke?

Sophia Valesca Görgens Atlanta, Georgia, USA   Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash He smokes when he thinks I’m not looking, she tells me, then glances at him as if expecting him to contradict her but the ventilator is pressed to his face and his eyes are lidded dim with midazolam for sedation, fentanyl for […]

I tried to write a dementia poem

Mac Greene Indianapolis, IN, USA   I tried to write… Did I tell you already? About the softball team on my first job, and I left my mitt on the front seat of my 1965 Chevy pickup that I sold for a hundred fifty dollars in Rappahannock County, with the ball in the pocket just […]

A mother and a doctor

Michelle Kittleson Los Angeles, California, USA   Fourteen years to become a cardiologist: Medical school, residency, fellowship training Is easy, for the resilient — and the optimists. One shift after another can be draining, Though the path is clear and predictable, So the key is stamina, a matter of maintaining. Mother and Child Henry Essenhigh […]

here

Slavena Salve Nissan New York, New York, United States   “with her grandfather in the lobby of the cancer building“ this is the third time this week a baby girl in a pink hat with her grandfather in the lobby of the cancer building me at the table next to them tuna sandwich unwrapped but […]

Thinking of my dying grandmother at the Natural History Museum

Roxana Cazan Altoona, Pennsylvania, United States   Bosnian landscape. Photo by Melisa Javier-Wetklow.   At the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City, I am promised “the assemblage of nature’s ultimate machine,” its precise lurking, one foot crossing the Silurian, its simian lurch trapped behind shatterproof glass. I zigzag through the dinosaur world, the tender bend […]

Five Untitled Poems

Simon Perchik East Hampton, New York, United States   Mark Rothko, No. 61 (Rust and Blue), 1953, 115 cm × 92 cm (45 in × 36 in). Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles   * Slowly the glass, half filled, half melting down for a slipper not yet hardened into light   is flickering the […]

On the banks of the ganges

Susan M. Beck Fort Collins, Colorado, United States   Listen. She told me how her brother died in a screaming instant of metal and splintering windshield. She told me in the silence of the exam room, my brain let go of Latin names, syndromes, the architecture of molecules, which way sodium, and potassium flow across […]

Christian cutting at Vancouver General

Amber Moore Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada   Vancouver General Hospital She calls it “Christian cutting,” and laughs dryly, as if trying to soak the secret back up. It’s futile; in the Psychiatry Assessment Unit at Vancouver General, everything spills out eventually anyway- it gushes. Carving crucifixes in her skin, she prays to Mary because Jesus […]