II. The Doctor :: Rafael Campo

Essential hypertension, uncontrolled,
Is almost immortality. The pressure
Of blood inside the arteries I measure
With mercury, reflecting on the soul:
Both liquid and a heavy metal, trapped
And beautiful–a subtle trembling–cold.
I hate to watch my patients grow old.
I watch as blood pressures ascend, hearts stop;
A cancer dimpling a woman’s breast,
As if to pull her in, inside herself.
On certain days, I want to die myself,
Then live forever by a perfect test:
My blood shows infinite cholesterol
And nothing cures me of my needs, and I’ve
Among my bitter medicines no salve
To calm my troubled, trembling soul.

— Rafael Campo

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