American Life in Poetry

There is noth­ing quite like the relief of good news from the doc­tors. Of course, it is a reminder of the bad news we even­tu­al­ly expect, the faith that the word ​“cure” demands of us. I have always enjoyed Hil­da Raz​’s wry sense of humor, and this poem is no different.


I am sick with worry when you call.

You tell me a story about ears

How the doctor asked about your earaches

Peered in and pronounced “Pristine.

Clean as a whistle.” And you were cured.

Because I am a maker of poems

And you are a maker of music

You tell me the word pristine was perfect.

It was the cure.

Yesterday I went to the hospital

To hear my heart beat in her various chambers.

I knew the sounds:

The Fly Bird from the right ventricle

The Go Go from the left

The Here I am from under the rib.