Thursday, March 29, 2018

I thought you really meant ‘How are you?’

You asked me “How are you doing?” 
I thought it was more than a social check-in.
Sensing something different than the usual
You seem interested, until …
And then, I’m not sure what happened
I could tell you tuned out

What did you detect?
Did you even realize something changed?

Did it sound like self pity?
Or was it something you couldn’t fix with a pill?
Did you just not have patience for more?
Or were you getting more than you wanted?

I heard it in your voice
It wasn’t what you said
It was a hesitation, a change in cadence, a different flow

I didn’t expect a lot in response - I don’t think.
I would have liked validation. 
Just stay with me for a moment; 
Nod, say 'Uh huh,' slow down for a second
You had lots of options
“I’m sorry” would have been enough
“I’m sorry you are burdened by that” would have let me know you heard

But … “Better than the alternative” was diminishing
And I could also say “Dismissing?”
I could feel the distance between us
As you backed away emotionally
I felt my own ‘leaving myself’

While I dismissed my own vulnerability.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this poem and will read it to my students next week. It resonates with our discussion of a practitioner who in response to a patient's question about his score of 9 on the Gleason scale responded: "it is better than 10"...