The Present

The present arrived at Christmas,
Bound with bow,
A white ribbon tied just so,
Caressing the slender tome
Of Emily Dickinson poems.
Carefully, I undid it,
Teased the knot free,
Tossed it to the
Back of the bookshelf,
Out of sight,
But not
Out of mind.

Months later I searched
For a sash to bind up
A bouquet of white roses,
A gift for the grandmother
Of a 10-year-old boy now dead.
The white ribbon lay
Exactly as I had left it.

Gently, I wrapped the roses,
Bound with the tie that binds,
Placed the bouquet
In the grandmother’s arms,
Where it rested like a newborn
Now fast asleep.

Later, I let the gift giver know
I had recycled the bow,
Passed the tie on to the next in need.
When my text came through,
They were steeped in
Multiple trauma cases in the ED:
A motor vehicle accident victim;
Two gun shot wounds, both children.
“Your anodyne arrived when most needed,”
She said.

We hand each other along in life
Until the circle completes itself,
And we recognize the ribbon
For what it has become.

2/20/2017

white-roses-on-red

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Humane Medicine — Said and done

If we should become wise, we come to understand that each of us has only the day before us to live. more»

Interested readers can now access my latest Humane Medicine columnSaid and done: When the present is all we have left — recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Humane Medicine February 2013