I hold the hand of a frightened man

As he asks me questions I don’t understand

¿Qué pasa aquí? ¿Qué van a hacer?

The other patients point, whisper, and stare

The hospital’s busy for a midnight on call

We dodge carts and nurses as we rush through the halls

But when we arrive, we find the OR packed

They’ve been briefed on the accident: two dead on impact

The patient we have speaks not a word of English

Nor any other language which I can distinguish

But I can taste his fear, it’s a contagious thing,

I look all around, try to think of something

When a girl approaches; she’s no older than twenty

By her scrubs she’s a student, of which we have many

So I don’t know her name, or her year, or her role,

But she takes the patient’s hand, gentle and slow,

And whispers, Hola, señor. Me llamo Maria.

Está en el hospital. Necesita la cirugía.

The patient calms at her words, as if they came from an angel

His vitals relax into something more stable

I draw up medications and lay out the surgeons’ knives

Adjust the bed height and the overhead lights

But a few words were all he needed for comfort to be had

A familiar sound amid chaos was the best sedative we had

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