The Last Dance

My patient was a dancer
             the contour of her face
                         infinitely delicate
                         set in hardened determination
            her sunken eyes
                         betrayed the fire behind her fight
       She never spoke
           but told me of her pain
              with each examination
                                     and injection
          her cries filled the silent music
             echoing through her room.
Last night
           on rounds
I saw her dance
         against the shadows on teh wall
         her gown fluttering
             with whispers of bittersweet peace
         so exquisite
             her tiny feet lifting above the sheets
I turned away at the orchestra’s finale
         closing the door on her final bow
–the monotone wail from the EKG machine
        followed me down the hall.

Julie Pease, Chicago, Class of 1991

Originally published in Vol. V: 1989