I, The History of the World

We think we know it all
until we find we don’t know
anything at all. Not enough
not yet / If I die today
I was never born.

Left before we could meet
A brother, a son      my cousin –
Three halves of your lives later I
touch the lump behind my neck
think of yours in your brain.

These embers, too, will give. What
is care / when hurting is blind?

        The man who called me ‘doctor
        remarked he was in this very room
        last time, loved the new short stay
        unit downstairs. The man who had
        cerebral palsy but smiled wider
        than I ever had.

        The boy just older than you were
                asked if I watched the rugby
                told mum to bring his Switch
        before being wheeled into theatre
        for his third open heart surgery
        in two years.

        The lady with maroon manicures
        and the sweet tooth. ‘Thank you
        darling’ when I put her socks on.
        ‘Sorry dear’ as she wept. Her love
        of sixty years needed her. Her many
        metastases did not.

If there is anybody I should pity
it is myself. Questions answer
if you cry loud enough.

As the bells of history chime
your hands behind mine and
your many faces in my mind
I go forth   towards my time.

About the author
Jim Wang is currently training for his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at The University of Auckland. His literary favourites include Seamus Heaney, W. S. Merwin and Mary Ruefle. He thanks his high school English teacher for imparting to him the gravity of words. Find him on Twitter.