Touch: The Journal of Healing


Door Card

    by James S. Wilk

When the door card is placed on a hospital room door,

it subtly alerts staff that a death has occurred.

The picture of the leaf and teardrop serves as a visual reminder

of the need for sensitivity when entering the room…

—From the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation’s catalog

   of perinatal bereavement materials

A falling leaf just before

denting the dark pond’s surface

casts a jagged shadow on the water.


The leaf’s veiny arms, still

verdant and waxy, curl

in a halted, upward embrace


like a tiny stygian boat, ferrying

a single droplet to wherever

it is that grief goes.


Waves ripple

everywhere, jostling

even the water striders.

© 2009 James S. Wilk

James S. Wilk is a practicing physician in Denver, Colorado, specializing in medical disorders complicating pregnancy.  His work has appeared in a variety of literary and medical journals, including Measure, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Ars Medica, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Raintown Review, The Barefoot Muse, and CHEST.  His chapbook, Shoulders, Fibs, and Lies, is available through the author or through Pudding House Press.


© 2009 Dewdrop by O.P.W. Fredericks

Copyright © 2009

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.