Compressions

David Kennedy, MD/MPH Candidate, Family Medicine

Each compression was a prayer

delivered to a sallow heart—

a failing muscle caged in bone,

a fruit shrinking from its skin.

 

Her chest was naked and black,

and my hands could not bring her back.

 

Time was a faulty metronome

amidst the chaos in the room.

The lifeless form of a woman once born

was starkly, discordantly calm.

 

The physician checked his watch.

When time was called my arms relaxed.

All eyes in the gallery trained on the LCD

that revealed asystole.

 

Her chest was naked and black

and my hands could not bring her back.

 

A man held her hand, now both familiar and foreign.

His voice broke as he told me not to worry

for spring would arrive soon with flowers,

and with each blossom her smiling face.