Women Medical Students Poetry Reading

They read sonnets for patients...

They read sonnets for patients

who died before they could say

goodbye, sestinas about apricots

and elephants, and odes to anxiety

beginners must master. Virgins

in their experience with death

certificates, insurance forms,

and the power of money,

they want nothing more

than the chance to change

the world, one patient at a time.

In their gaze I see my wife’s

green eyes the day we met,

kneeled on the bookstore floor,

the idealism she practiced

even when Medicine frayed her

like the cuffs of her first white coat.

And if there is a poetry of healing,

women, fearless in their show of love,

have taught me more than men.