Audio: Read by the author.
His doctrine on heads, renowned.
His research on pain, advanced.
A yearning for purity drives his surgeries.
Doctor, I am at sea,
alone since my husband died.
I listened to years of sawing,
years of “almost there.”
After his care, I’ll reach land.
On my prow, the dove;
from my brow, every animal paired.
Joan Houlihan is the author of six poetry collections, including Shadow-feast and the forthcoming It Isn’t a Ghost If It Lives in Your Chest (both from Four Way), and founder of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.