Metronome

We stand side by side wav­ing our arms beat­ing time in the wind
beau­ti­ful and senseless.

I can’t get away from the tur­bines. The sound is the pla­cen­tal rhythm,
the wind cut by the blade is the same as the heart clos­ing around gulps of blood
is the same as my arms stroking through a pool in sum­mer is the same as your
breath heav­ing while we make love.

If I could believe that after this is some­thing so dif­fer­ent, which I guess noth­ing is (really dif­fer­ent) I would say, and I am say­ing, that I will miss this rhythm. I will miss the sound of the air mov­ing in and out, the breath­ing, the and…

Today a fam­ily I have been work­ing with let go of their sister/daughter/mother. She is in a cyclone of sep­tic infec­tion. The bac­te­ria are eat­ing her skin and I have taken off huge swaths of her land­scape and I am los­ing. I can’t get ahead of it. I am con­stantly caught in the back­wash. These are the flesh eat­ing bac­te­ria that incite dread when peo­ple read about it or see the pseudo-documentaries on cable tv. These are those bugs. The flesh becomes the food and the only treat­ment is to cut away what is dead. The prob­lem with these infec­tions is that the blood sup­ply to the tis­sue is inad­e­quate for the antibi­otics. A knife is the only hope and it is lit­er­ally bar­baric. The antibi­otics wash around the edges of the infec­tion but if the dead tis­sue is not removed, there is no win­ning. I took this woman back to the OR five times in ten days. Finally the fam­ily looked up, as if see­ing her in a new way – or maybe an old, love-filled way and said stop. Essen­tially, “let the dying fin­ish.” The time beats out the last sec­onds for her soon and then the next sec­ond hap­pens and the next and time does its thing and she will have passed through the wind­mill herself.

The wind­mills stand guard over the moments and I want to hug them when I finally hear the might of the air they move. If you pass by them, stop and lis­ten. I am com­forted by their neu­tral­ity, by the sim­ple pro­gres­sion. Noth­ing might hap­pen in this one stroke or I might be done in this one, or I might play a C Major 7th, full and round on my gui­tar, and har­ness joy and store it until the next moment comes.

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5 Responses to Metronome

  1. Stephen Parkhurst says:

    Wow !!! Stephen, your work is great…both here and there. I’m amazed.

  2. Bobbi says:

    Breathe in, breathe out. Good luck Doc­tor S.

  3. Barbara says:

    let the dying fin­ish.”
    a phrase that could be applied to so many things.….…hard to feel this one, but beau­ti­ful too.…..

  4. P. Voyles says:

    This is a strik­ing pho­to­graph. I love how the sky is such a deep, dark color on top and gets lighter as it goes down. Sim­ple and yet beautiful!

  5. anita says:

    i like the last two sen­tences. this is what makes life live­able – the mind of no pref­er­ences stance with the pro­ceed­ing of time, plus the fact that some­times joy does hap­pen. some­times we make it happen.

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