Facts of life

David is a 2nd year medical student at Harvard Medical School, aspiring to be a physician-writer. He was awarded the 2019 Lloyd McKim Garrison Prize in Poetry, awarded to a Harvard undergraduate fo ... [+]

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Poetry
Curiously the day begins without you.
Not in a sudden fit of forgetfulness,
but in the way a robin leaves her eggs
and never comes back. You know
how the bird feels. To wait and stare
out into the weather. The men washing
windows on the skyscraper. Glistening
river held static by hand-drawn shores,
as if the scene below contains just enough
to be defined in shape. You know this to be true.
Shortly, a nurse rolls in this afternoon's
supply of antipsychotics. The colors shine
in angles that catch the speckled blue outside.
And their roundness almost seems comical.
The cart rolls back out, without a second
glance. In the calm you glance outside.
This nest is quite scraggly. A heavy gust
would push it over. You wonder how eggs
look on pavement. If the window washers
would notice any splash back of yellow.
You know that if the mother comes back
these birds could live. Full, uncomplicated
lives. You think of how brave it would be
to bring this collection of abandonment
inside. To care and love for something that
will never be your own. And when it does
succeed, watch their little wings fly away.
Just as you crank the side window open
a bird flies by and you retract your hand.
The medicine cart rolls back in and out.
Overhead sunset is taking place.
7