you almost died today.
you almost brought yourself back to life
knowing another heart, too,
makes warmth between your breasts.
given the choice to react or fibrose,
become a healer.
on the next plum dusk, touch the side
of your neck. it will grow and fill the room
with books that break open themselves
cradles under dim light. and when
some part of your chest
learns too many ways to describe pain
let it wander into a flower shop
tell it to find the sweetest bouquet.
Author’s note: “palpate” was written after a session of The Healer’s Art on grief. It is a poem reminiscent of a few things, including Orlando, and of taking on the role of patient while in medical training.