Four minutes discussing the risks
and benefits of the procedure,
the doctor’s confidence and my worry
sparring in the silence that follows.
Four inches of thin stainless-steel injecting
steroids into my shoulder joint,
thoughts of relief and regaining range
of motion subdued by lancinating pain.
A fast baseball pitch and loud pop.
A gunshot wound to the right shoulder.
A bomb detonated close to the upper arm.
Four lives embodied in my own.
Four drops slide down my cheeks,
the waterfall of reserves drying out.
What will replenish trust as
therapeutic possibilities dwindle?
Four steps into another exam room,
I greet a patient in pain.
Before assessing and assuming,
asking about the story…