What I see is different
from what they see.
It’s lonely when no one
can really understand
what it’s like going about
everything as if it’s normal
when nothing’s been normal
for me for a while.
Still, I trust I’m a vessel
for helping and healing
even when I don’t feel it
because giving and receiving
flow in circles and cycles
‘n coming around, they’re both.

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

This person was a critical care physician who’d been working in both a COVID ICU and in academia over the past year. Her two teenagers had been on her mind lately. Their recent accomplishments were a highlight, but she worried she wasn’t present enough because she was constantly distracted by work. She told me she was discouraged by the recent death of a close family friend. At the same time, she’d just been honored with a huge award for her academic work. “My home life and work life have always been dichotomous, but it’s more extreme now. How can anything be normal when it’s not normal?” she said. She wanted the poem to emphasize her love of helping others. “Even if I don’t see the results directly, I know it’s all circular, I can see it coming around to my kids,” she said. “That makes it worth it.”

Interviewee: Anonymous, Physician
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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