In This Section

Most Times

Third Place Winner, 2022 Temple Health Essay Contest

May 12, 2022
Michelle Romeo

Most times, it is all
I can do.
I cannot
Grant them their child’s future or
Control the gun that riddled their spine.
Provide health insurance to
Abate the hospital bill.
I cannot
Switch their hours to
Fulfill medical appointments.
Create time to
Obtain the urgent emergent MRI.
I cannot
Supply food for them past this hour or
Construct a grocery store.
Procure stable housing or
Force public concern.
I cannot
Satiate their addiction nor
Control the fentanyl contamination.
Salvage broken communities or
Hold companies accountable.
I cannot
Perform miracles or
Deliver perfect answers.
Secure safe arrangements for all or
Heal a fractured healthcare system.

Most times, it is all
I can do
I can
Reminisce about their child’s last goodbye while
Overhearing police sirens in the background.
Shouting “there is another” while
Wailing fills the corridors.
I can
Understand why they haven’t followed up as
Descriptions of their work environment unfold.
Re-telling their struggle to
Afford childcare to buy more time.
I can
Take notice of how little they’ve mentioned they ate today and
Eavesdrop on the request for another sandwich.
Entertain the idea that politicians may understand while
Attending to the “Code Blue” influx.
I can
Discover who they were before and
Pick up about where they want to go.
Dive into their discourse of street wisdom and
Catch the flicker of hope in recovery.
I can
Observe miracles and
Dream up perfect answers.
Ensure safety for most and
Improve a fractured healthcare system.

Most times,
I cannot
I can