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I realized I was going to miss


Through a haze of mojitos and love.

I watched the midwife’s bare feet,

Dancing, floating,

Her beautiful face lit up

By the crackling glow of a campfire.

Witchy, wonderful, otherworldly midwife;

Keeper of women in their transitions to motherhood.

The songbird’s sweet, low voice

flowed through the air

like warm caramel,

She, too, danced.

Her smile shined brighter and bigger

than the waxing, pale moon above.

She caught my hand,

Whisked me around,

And my wallflower petals fell away

as she taught me to salsa.

All the women, we danced,

We laughed, we cried.

I dance-laugh-cried.

And I didn’t care who was watching.

I found myself wishing

for time to stand still,

Porque me enamoré

con este momento perfecto

con La Pura Vida.



The driver pulls away from our sweet town by the volcano,

And my heart aches,

And a bittersweet taste fills my mouth.

We wind through the mountains in silence,

Which feels foreign,

Too quiet,

Too heavy.

I already missed the neighbors’ loud music,

the birds’ tone-deaf singing,

the blaring car horns,

and the yowls of fighting cats.

Because when I listened closely to that beautiful symphony,

I heard my calling—


I see a blue car barreling towards us,

I realize it isn’t going to stop,

I look down at my lap,

I had no seatbelt, there hadn’t been anywhere to buckle one, and


A horrible crunch of metal

And my head crashes into a window.

Everything is blurry.

My body trembles, as paramedics pull me from the vehicle,

Raindrops sting a scrape on my ankle.

Spanish and English jumble together in my mind,

As I struggle to answer simple questions.

I am numb.

Strapped to a backboard,

A cervical collar placed gently around my neck,

I can only stare at the dark ceiling of the ambulance.

I can hear Senita on the phone with someone important,

But there is a fog in my brain, and I can’t remember who it is.

A brief glimpse of grey sky,

And then another ceiling,

White, with some pieces missing.

Strong hands lift me from one gurney to another,

People walk by, in scrubs, in masks, on crutches,

And they all look at me.

An hour goes by.

A doctor’s face comes into view.

A blood pressure cuff goes around my bicep.

An IV pokes into my left arm.

The pain in my head dulls,

quickly replaced by another uncomfortable sensation.

I have to pee.

I tell a nurse, who closes some curtains around me,

yanks my pants and underwear down,

and slides a cold metal bedpan underneath me.

Exposed, embarrassed,

I ask her for some privacy,

And she leaves.

I breathe a sigh of relief,

But then my heart sinks

As I hear her making a joke

about my inability to urinate

while someone stares at my naked body.

I call out,

“¡Ya terminé!”

And the nurse comes back.

She hands me a wad of rough, tan paper towels.

As she takes the bedpan away,

I realize my place.

Here, I am a patient,






I remember what I had been imagining in the car

before this mess began to unfold.

A different kind of medicine.

Caring, not just treating.

I resolve to make sure that none of my patients ever feel

the way I do in this moment.

And then,

The tears finally come.