In the hospital lobby, three police officers
surrounded a woman in an oversized, white T-shirt,
sitting in a corner chair that nearly swallowed her whole,
enveloping her in its dull, floral pattern.
She says adamantly, sternly,
“I can’t go back outside.
No, you don’t understand!
I’m pregnant and if I stay outside,
I will have a seizure.”
A pregnant woman seeking refuge
in a temperature-controlled hospital
from 104 degrees of scorching wrath.
In my naiveté I think,
whatever happened to this being a
Mother’s hair-raising, ictal cries.
Mothers’s grinding teeth, like a screeching car.
Mother’s nystagmic gaze, with vibrating eyes.
Mother’s neck contorted in inconceivable ways.
Fetus’s struggled movements for oxygen.
Fetus’s cocooned jostling.
As Mother’s limbs are hurled in different directions,
Mother’s brain harmonizes her neuronal activity.
When I leave the hospital, I see her across the street,
sitting in shade.
And this is why they say
only accounts for
of health outcomes.
The other 80% of health factors?
Obscured behind a veil unless we
try to look above,
and across the veil,
detangle the complexity of the 80%,
and welcome the humility this breeds.
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