Thursday, July 5, 2012

Poem about a Wounded Healer

Missa Solemnis 

by Eugene E. Lemcio

Each Sunday morning,
the Chief of Staff
at Horeb State Hospital
dons safe-green vestments
and waits for sounds of gurney wheels.
Gravely, an acolyte
delivers an internee
whose dwarf-like form
is one-third head.

The ritual begins on time.
Tremulous arms are crossed
upon the heaving chest
by firm, expected hands.
Next, the priest proceeds
with practiced, tender strokes:
tracing familiar lobes and cranial gullies,
and then cradling the great ellipse
until the quaking stops.

And, fathoms within,
imaged on synaptic screens
ten billion neurons squared,
a monstrous pterodactyl
soars high above defiant waves--
then, plunge-plummeting
dives, hovers and
with blue-veined, leathery wings
caresses and soothes
her watery globe
to roost and rest.

1984 (rev. 2009, 2010)

*In honor of Dr. Leon McCleery, a healer wounded by hydrocephalus as an infant

Originally published in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine [University of Chicago Press], 28.3 (Spring 1985): 361

No comments: