She speaks for him, her husband’s deepening
dementia like a river through which she
has led him to this place, its current strong
but not unconquerable. Carefully,
she holds his hand, still guiding him as in
Korean now the translator explains
what I have said. Stiff-backed, his peaceful grin
a mask that tries to hide the tumor’s pain,
he sits as if imagining he sees
her face beyond a soundless waterfall,
through mist that moistens his unblinking eyes.
His wife says, “Doctor, sorry, is that all?”
Rafael Campo teaches and practices general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School. New poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, POEM (UK), The Poetry Review (UK), Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. A volume of his new and selected poems Comfort Measure Only was published earlier this year by Hippocrates Press (London).