Becoming “Doctor”

Finding my heart light switched on by you all, by this, and then facing the dreadful unreleasing fear that
I may be, am, terrible at this management of people in illness, of illness in people,
am broken down and apart
tenusous in my wanting knowledge
wanting my touch–hands and instrument–to mean healing for you but instead they flounder clumsily at your gown’s ties.
God help you that I, past twenty-five uncertain and unfocused years,
have become your caretaker
and that your well-being, the rate of your getting better again, depends on whether
my mind works on three hours’ sleep and two cups vanilla cappuccino;
whether my ego can distain exposure of my amateurity
and does not in defeat relinquish involvment, trying to help;
whether I can get all of your facts straight and still remember your story.
God help me that all of my emotions are delayed and my private tragedies are put off, so that I may be the embodiment of health,
emotional and physical, for you, so that you see
hope and desperation
in these brown warming eyes and this tentative probing smile.

Katy Hsiao, Chicago, Class of 2003