Rafael Campo

END OF LIFE DISCUSSION
November 26, 2017 Campo Rafael

END OF LIFE DISCUSSION

 

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 medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Hudson Review, Image, New Criterion, Poetry Review (UK), Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. His new and selected poetry, Comfort Measure Only, will be published by Duke University Press in fall 2018. For more information, please visitrafaelcampo.com.