Touch: The Journal of Healing


A Time to Weep

    by C.E. Chaffin

I suppose you could call me heartless

as a dull anvil clanking in a sodden barn,

the damp wood too lazy to echo your pain;

and your limbs twisted like great roots,

your hearts rank melons bursting with fluid,

your tidal headaches, your equatorial fevers

were all grist for my scientific mill,

my hands cold and precise like metallic probes

on your beaded foreheads.

I suppose my brief visits and cryptic prognoses

do little to comfort your collapsing veins.

You ask for a word, I spout statistics.

Your skeletal hands pray for light--

I check your pupils.  Do you understand?

It is not that I care not for healing

if only the power would come;

but science is an impotent matchstick

broken in death’s fingers.

I have never collected moths

but you are pinned somehow on my mind’s wall

several hallways from heart.

Allow me this distance,

allow me not to weep.

Should those dark waves with their thousand eyes

once spill over the dike, I do not know

what sort of god I should become--

most likely a madman

but never again your doctor.

© 1999 C.E. Chaffin

  1. *

  2. * previously published in 2 River View

C.E. Chaffin, M.D., FAAFP, is a contributing editor for Umbrella and the former editor and publisher of The Melic Review.  Credits include The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Pedestal, The Philadelphia Inquirer Book Review and Rattle, among many others. He was formerly a featured poet in Tryst.  His new volume, Unexpected Light was recently released by Diminuendo Press.  He also teaches an online poetry tutorial.


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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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