Deborah Bayer

The Heart Doctor: A Ghazal
by Deborah Bayer

A massive MI, myocardial infarction, happens on a plane from London
to LA. The woman doesn’t know her distress is a symptom of her heart.

The pastor says, lift up your hearts, and we say, lift them to God.
Everyone else was amazed, but Mary pondered these things in her heart.

My yoga teacher can’t decide whether to be anatomic or spiritual.
Sometimes she says sternum, sometimes she says space of the heart.

Green is the color of the fourth chakra. The one where energy spirals
both ways. From the back, from the front, both in and out of the heart.

My patient is very calm, says he won’t harm himself. He has a plan.
He has no friends. He has no gun or sword. He’s not the King of Hearts.

My mother-in-law gave me a black trunk to use as a hope chest.
I stored the quilt she made for me, a pattern of ribbons and hearts.

Deborah, you can pray and breathe and meditate and chant, give
and receive love, but you can’t keep everyone safe in your heart.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 4.

Deborah BayerDeborah Bayer is a physician who has taken care of HIV patients in Atlantic City, NJ for over 25 years. Her poems have appeared in Hospital Drive, Mead, Petrichor Machine, Serving House Journal, Shot Glass Journal, and The Stillwater Review.

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