Unwind, unwrap, unfetter without fuss
The clotted blood, the inspissated pus.
Give healing room; grant air a fighting chance.
Swab softly and forfend the avid lance.
She never hurries, and we do not flinch.
God be with you, Sister, inch by inch.
Our honored surgeon cleansed, debrided, closed
And left the puzzle sundered tissue posed
To Sister and the body’s wisdom, sure
That what he’d left them they have skill to cure.
The afternoon has brightened. Through the blinds
Alert, disinterested sunshine finds
Clean bandages, white gauze, fresh four-by-fours,
Sweet-scented new bed linen, shining floors.
We thank you, Sister, and now that you’ve done it
Please gather all the foul debris—and gun it.
Barry Gault is a psychiatrist in private practice in Newton, Massachusetts.
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