Suicide of a Resident

A pitiless, cruel, and inhuman tarp was strewn
Upon the lifeless body. The blood coalescing on
The sidewalk – a ghastly wraith that burned into
The brain; passersby recoiling in horror, the inanimate

Hand, the sliver of white coat, fires in the valley
Where no daisies grow. A monstrous visage had
Seized upon the innocent, the maws of Moloch
Engorging on the plains. Whereon the god of time

Unwound upon the sun, revealing an ashen-faced
Resident standing at the edge of the roof of her
Teaching hospital. Central Park unfolded majestically,
Its splendor a timeless tale unwept, while in her soul

There was a broken hourglass. And a kaleidoscope
Of time unfolded in the sallows: She had just turned
Five, and was laughing on a swing, with the kingdom
And the birds, duly soaring ever – then tumbling to the

Ground; the kindly doctor, the cast, the lollipop. “If only
I could be like that man at the hospital, and bring solace
To those in pain,” she mused. Only to find herself twenty
Years later writing prescriptions for opioids; each one a

Loaded gun, each order a betrayal pregnant with death.
How many had she eviscerated? The unmourned caskets
Abandoned in the rain, the bride-to-be, the high school
Wrestler. Her sadistic attending: “Your job is not to question

But obey. If you’re going to cry like a baby, perhaps you
Would be more suited to cleaning bathrooms with the
Mexicans.” Her favorite professor was writing on the
Blackboard “First, do no harm;” the words now a dagger

Of remorse and shame. She had profaned the holy citadel,
And crossed beyond the unseen shadow; and never could
Her cowardice and perfidy be wiped clean, the stain indelible,
The sin a song of doom ineradicable. And the raven’s eye

Bore down upon the vanquished, the demons of the air
Were goading, the night enshrouding; until a zone was
Shattered beyond all depths of primordial dream, a maniacal
Scream once more to the gentle, the darkness imminent;

A sky was falling, a world imploding, a mind unraveling, a
Mother howling – thrice beyond the angels and the crying
Of the lambs – a star faintly flickering, its light guiding the
Wanderer for one last time, and all that remained was silence.

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.