Touch: The Journal of Healing



    by Maria Basile

My muse is not an Ancient Greek.

No nubile nag with golden hair, gossamer-clad,

winged feet or flutes for fingers

will play my song.  Although I have to say,

I like her outfit!


More likely my muse is Modern Greek

whose cousin owns the diner where he used to work

and lost his leg taking the garbage out back

pinned against the dumpster by the dark

drunk driver.


Speaking of outfits, one day my muse

wore sunlight, reflecting off the freshly cut grass

where my daughter and her then best friend for ever sat.


My muse has reached through the bloodshot fearful eyes

of patients to grab my throat as I tried to tell them

what they could not possibly be ready to hear.


She is not silent.  My muse deals in words, as well.

She steals them from my son, I think, so all that’s left

for him is sheer, profound:

“Thy kingdom come. Thy kingdom go.”


In the early morning I have seen her.

As I sneak away in the predawn moonlight, I stoop to kiss

my husband’s sleeping forehead.

The corners of his lips turn up a half dreaming smile.

“Love you,” he breathes, and I see her.

That is where she lives.

© 2009 Maria Basile

Maria Basile is a surgeon practicing in New York.  Dr. Basile teaches courses in Medical Humanities at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.  Her poetry has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Touch: The Journal of Healing,  and is anthologized with the creative writing of other physicians and health care professionals.


Copyright © 2009

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.