The Hum of Life

Whitman once asked
What good amid these, O me, O life?
and the question comes for me
standing beside a young woman rapidly dying
from a tumor filling her heart.

Then while walking down lamp-lit streets with
homeless men shivering in damp doorways
or when crowds of phone-peering people
throng to catch morning trains,
more questions,

about what my father dreamt of
the night he died in his sleep on Kilimanjaro
or what doctors a millennium from now will think
about the medical care I provide,
the patients I cannot save,

and why I sometimes feel as
futile as a bloodletter 
when the body’s rhythms and the hum of life
are as opaque and silent
as a snow-filled farm.

by our guest writer Avraham Z. Cooper

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