by Rong Xin Choy


 

You are working,

Tirelessly.

 

At the hospital.

 

You fix people who need fixing.

They come in everyday seeking

Desperate desperate assistance.

 

A man comes in holding his left arm in his right hand.

You stitch it back to his shoulder.

Terrible accident on the highway.

 

A boy lies unconscious in his wailing mother's arms.

You staple the skull back together.

Stairs can be tricky things to three-year olds.

 

You are a healer.

You weld broken bones with alloys

Alot of hips.

The elderly need railings in the bathroom.

 

You cure sniffles with lollipops

Mainly children.

They always are trying to skip school.

 

You are Friendly and Approachable

Responsible and Hardworking

An Asset to the Institution.

 

You perform your duties dutifully.

 

Today,

You are to oversee a quadruple bypass.

Of a young girl who has

A weak heart.

Fifteen minutes.

 

She lies there bare

Modesty veiled only by a thin cotton

Placed strategically

Across a steel table of appropriate size.

Many have lay there before her.

And so will many more after.

 

She inhales deeply.

Breathing is necessary, she notes.

Goosebumps begin to form on her arms-

Dreaded chicken skin.

As if I could be anymore unglamorous, she thinks.

She starts to shiver.

Was she cold from the room?

The air conditioner produced a low consistent hum.

The air purifier joined the chorus.

Or was she feeling the icy grip of of of-

Bony fingers slipping tightly

Around her ankles?

 

She kicks instinctively into the air, violently, shuddering at the thought.

She is alone.

She is alone in a room that decides her tomorrow.

 

You are observing her.

She does not know that.

She shares with you the intimacy of her deepest thoughts

Her greatest fears

Through her glassy, vacant eyes.

You do not even know her name.

You distance yourself from patients who you think

May not get better.

You watch as her calm frame jerks in sudden silent rebellion of reality.

 

Something leaps within your own heart.

You want to save her.

You want to save her and you will.

 

The team assembles

Right on time.

They get to work

Attaching wires to her fingers

Hooking up beeping machines

The room bustles with activity

A blur of motions.

Yet all you see

Is her purple heart.