shrouded within a shrine of hazy vinyl curtains
a grown man
soul painfully transparent
eyes clear with gossamer hope
shatter like two panes of glass
“I don’t want to be on a ventilator.”
I sit on a stool and gather the glass
within my own eyes.
“I share your wish.
Let’s be hopeful together.”
the virus crescendos into a chorus.
our wishes are broken by a cold metal blade.
a clear plastic tube grows opaque
stained by the fog of breath.
within these windowless walls
shared hopes are held softly between strangers
silently beautiful with translucent fragility
piercing through a parable of passion
etched on panes of glass.
By Yenting Chen
Dr. Yenting Chen is an emergency medicine physician in Oakland, California. His primary professional interest is working with medically underserved communities. Outside of the emergency room, his main creative drive is fostering empathy for the fragility of the human experience.