The tiny silver crucifix she wore
enacted what it seemed we did to her.
She rested in the bed, not at peace yet,
she said, but trying to forgive. The dead
moved quietly around the room, unseen:
last week, a man with liver cancer keened
where she did now, before he passed; then
another woman whose lymphoma drenched
her in cold sweats, her lymph nodes thick and massed
wherever I had pressed. “Dear Lord,” I said,
attempting what I thought was prayer, “—Lord
forgive me for not healing them.” Unsaid,
the words of her forgiveness came to me
like kindness, like a sudden memory.
The tiny crucifix refused to bleed;
instead, it shone there like a misplaced need,
a way to understand the blameless night.
Adjusting my ophthalmoscope’s light,
I peered inside her, seeking what we may
of pain. I saw what she had tried to say:
the pulse of blood, the silence of my heart;
forgiveness, not impossible, but hard.
~ Rafael Campo from Alternative Medicine
Few poems have stopped me in my tracks.
Physically. Emotionally. Viscerally.
This one did. does.
What a fascinating juxtapose.
Campos and Rockatansky.
Fury Road and Faith Healing.
Max haunted by the faces of family he could not save
The haunting driving him to keep moving moving moving
to ultimately at least save
I know this.
I’ve never successfully left the room
still seeing the serene face
of the Girl.
Lips now still that should be pursed in a taunt.
Now they just haunt.
You didn’t save me.
You didn’t say the words.
Could I have said them?
And he came and touched the bier
But I let it pass
The bag not yet sealed
But I let it pass
The body now dust on the shelf, waiting
But the face, it haunts, it taunts
You didn’t save me
The face driving me
keeping me moving moving moving
to ultimately save