This Monday’s Poem of the Week was inspired by the the best seller about the Vietnam War of similar name. In any war, soldiers have to decide on what is most essential in carrying out their mission. Hope you enjoy today’s verse.
What We Carry
My first black bag too small
to hold my store of insecurities
I traded up to satchel size.
Mnemonics, formularies, vials
of scent to test that oft-ignored
first cranial nerve, reflex hammer,
tuning forks in several keys.
Eye charts, growth charts, BP
cuffs in several sizes, tape measure
cotton wisp, and a pin.
The medical equivalent
of a hardware store.
I carried it, a heavy comfort
all those years, then left it home.
Lighter now, silver haired, I enter rooms
alone save for a simple stethoscope
and a pair of ears.
- Edward M. McMahon Jr, MD