The Hills of Paraguay

August 14, 2018
Richard M. Berlin, MD

Volume 35, Issue 8

All summer southwest wind stirs the weeping willows the way my breath disturbs a settled life when I whisper the cancer diagnosis...

 

All summer southwest wind

stirs the weeping willows

the way my breath disturbs

a settled life when I whisper

the cancer diagnosis.

But this afternoon our clinic

feels far from my garden,

more distant than traffic

pounding the Pulaski Skyway

built long ago without shoulders

where police might hide

to ambush speeders

who roam undetected

like occult cancers.

At random moments,

my mind returns to work,

to tumors growing fast

and invasive as tipuana

trees on the hills of Paraguay,

where farmers slash limbs

with sharpened machetes

to spill blood red resin.

And deep in southern summer

los viejos proclaim,

“The heart is a leaf,

and the wind makes it throb,”

though I would say the heart

of a doctor’s life is the wind

in willows that makes him weep.

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