in memoriam

it is a curious thing, when one of our own dies

and I do mean
there are just a handful of 
common things 
that kill                young 
doctors and our profession demands
we find those common-things-that-occur-commonly

this is no simple diagnostics it is more than 
morbid curiosity
it is a need-to-know
(if we)
our profession
our community
could have prevented

my thoughts on facebook eulogies
are half-baked at best
but how do we let ours go without sitting shiva
a digital wake in the zerosandones 
of the cyberspace we know so well
can never truly disappear not like their faces from lecture halls
and f  l ic  k e   r    ing cafeterias
not like their names
now empty slots on duty rosters and registers and 
the roll
and emails in memoriam

(that only ever seem to memorialise the ancients that traversed
the profession
as though they who live not long enough to serve 
for decades
are somehow not worth 
being facetiously honoured in our inboxes)

as if in our youth we have not given our
the rosy cheeks the 
unwrinkled eyes the 
hazy memories of smoky nights and bad choices
in sacrifice at the altar of an easily-inflamed profession that 
engulfs its young
like an aberrant cell
destroying that which must sustain it. 


this friday we will wear our
soon we will wear armbands for 
imaginary safe working hours
(briefly) security will escort us through dark passages
and at some conference we will
remembering they were bigger
than this made-up community

at the going down of the sun and in the morning* 
seen from a bleary window at the scrubbing sink
our chapped hands grasped in the suds of pink soap
or on the icy roof of the hospital at shift change
we will remember them*.
-MP (barefootmegz)
* with thanks to Laurence Binyon - "For the Fallen"

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