The Unseen Moon

by Joanna White

The red moon loomed
above the spun globe
but not a soul looked up
to witness it. Some say
an unobserved event
is identical to an event
that did not occur at all.

My mother was with me
that long-ago medical day
but when she speaks of it
to me, I hear nothing.

Years later, she phoned
to tell me the doctor
had died. I set the phone
onto its cradle, picked
a piece of fluff up
off the floor, sorted
papers on my desk
into unassailable
rectangles.

Today, at the red light,
my gaze was pulled
to the silhouette
in the next car. I thought
it was the doctor,
that phone call a dream.
I pulled over, googled
him and realized
there were other children
he studied. Where
are they now? Do they
acknowledge the moon?

Joanna White has works published in The Examined Life Journal, Ars Medica, Healing Muse, Abaton, American Journal of Nursing, The Intima, Earth’s Daughters, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, MacGuffin, Cape Rock, Chariton Review, Pulse, Temenos, Measure, Naugatuck River Review as a finalist in their poetry contest, and in the Poetry and Medicine column of JAMA. She gives poetry readings at conferences (including a full-session reading at the 2016 Examined Life Conference at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine) and performs and records as an orchestral and chamber music flutist.

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