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on the twelfth stroke: the breaking of a spell

it was 11.49. i know because i had watched the clocks turn themselves around tonight, brass and silver metal clanking on familiar walls, caving in: four sides, no escape.

11.51. the neighbour’s cat had made a ruckus again, yellow scraps of what was once an elegant couch “of Parisian descent, my mother’s latest buy you know.” sounds of reprimands and defeat, a sigh, the slam of their rusty grey door, with seventeen long years of familiarity.

11.53. the creak of the fifth stair going down, hardwood and broken dreams, the foundation of this home. Andy’s number in my second kitchen drawer “we’ll fix anything” in ugly bold letters. hand reaching, 1800-786-4567 can you fix me?

11.54. a side glance at the ‘vintage’ vase a long excused friend from “the Northern parts of Italy” had presented with clumsy pride, sitting somewhat awkwardly next to their tangled set of wires and buttons.

11.56. phone haphazardly strewn on floor, rushed emotions and angry words still trailing around this home.

11.57. creaking doors, last one in the long hallway particularly louder than others. cacophony of sounds, muffled, under white doorways.

11.59. comforting hands on shoulder, not on mine, theirs. i wonder how long the imprint will last, will it outlive the memories, perhaps die down the moment i do?

12.00. endings with a beginning, marked, a face in the shadows, mine or theirs, indiscernible, merging, shaking with time.

12.01. the clocks turn themselves around tonight, brass and silver metal clanking on familiar walls, caving in: four sides, no escape.

It’s easy for the observer to pick apart the patient and their identity, separate the disease from the diseased. But for the patient and their loved ones, the moment a diagnosis is revealed, a set of long and trying hours begins. It is incredibly important for the healthcare community to recognize and empathize with these difficult times, especially in times when busy and hard hours can take away from such empathy. This poem narrates a similar instance, trying to bring forth the story of an individual and their diagnosis. It means to guide readers through the character’s pondering of her eventful life, represented by the clutter of objects that fill her home. This narrative is a reminder that the faces and statistics that complete our medical texts are also human beings, with a story and a home and a million nuances that weave together to create a mother, a daughter, and a neighbour.

Bormans, Thomas. “Round Black and Brown Analog Clock.” Unsplash, 31 August 2017

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