David clearly won the battle, but
You wouldn’t know it by his face:
Turned up and away unreadably,
Struck by a purposeful ray of light
You can’t know what he’s thinking

But is knowing the point?
Trying to read him is a challenge
And if your soul hurts you,
Wrestling against sharp-toothed ambiguity,
Maybe you relied too much on certainty
In the first place

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

For the past fifteen years he had been creating workshops for young medical students at an art museum. He believed that the systemic issue of burnout in the field of healthcare could be mitigated by training healers in the emotional resilience necessary to witness suffering and death on a regular basis. By encouraging students to contemplate the complexities of artwork, he could help them build the emotional intelligence and openness to ambiguity that were rarely sufficiently covered in traditional medical education.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Educator
Listener Poet: Elle Klassen

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