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