What I Would Give

By Rafael Campo b. 1964 Rafael Campo
What I would like to give them for a change
is not the usual prescription with
its hubris of the power to restore,
to cure; what I would like to give them, ill
from not enough of laying in the sun
not caring what the onlookers might think
while feeding some banana to their dogs—
what I would like to offer them is this,
not reassurance that their lungs sound fine,
or that the mole they’ve noticed change is not
a melanoma, but instead of fear
transfigured by some doctorly advice
I’d like to give them my astonishment
at sudden rainfall like the whole world weeping,
and how ridiculously gently it
slicked down my hair; I’d like to give them that,
the joy I felt while staring in your eyes
as you learned epidemiology
(the science of disease in populations),
the night around our bed like timelessness,
like comfort, like what I would give to them.

Rafael Campo, “What I Would Give” from Landscape with human figure, published by Duke University Press. Copyright © 2002 by Rafael Campo. Reprinted by permission of Georges Borchardt, Inc.

Source: Landscape with human figure (Duke University Press, 2002)

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Poet Rafael Campo b. 1964

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Relationships, Love

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Rafael  Campo

Biography

Rafael Campo is a poet and essayist who teaches and practices internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Campo earned a BA and MA from Amherst College and an MD from Harvard Medical School. His primary care practice serves mostly Latinos, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered people, and people with HIV infection. Campo is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Relationships, Love

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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