One of Us


One of us asks,

“Is there family?”

“He has two children,

A son in Omaha

And a daughter in Idaho”.


One of us has her knees on his bed,

Both arms locked at her elbows,

Caving in his breastbone an inch,



One hundred times a minute.


One of us squeezes a blue balloon

That pushes oxygen

Through the tube one of us

Shoved down his throat

Twenty minutes ago

When he first gasped for breath.


One of us feeds him,

Not meat and potatoes

As he must have been accustomed to,

But calcium and epinephrine.


We talk as if we were at a family reunion,

But not about Uncle Jack and Aunt Martha’s

Two sets of triplets,

But about blood gasses and pH

And ventricular fibrillation.


One of us pushes the green button on the little machine

And waits

And then pushes the red button.

His hands rise four inches off the bed

And then fall back.


One of us says it is time and we



One of us asks what time it is

And writes it down

And says it is official.


One of us washes him off

Like a newborn baby.


Canadian Medical Association Journal 182: E607, 2010.