By Sara Shalin, M.D., Ph.D.
The Drs. Paulette and Jay Mehta Award in Creative Writing
Dishes are done and there is quiet.
Trading my phone for stillness, I
Pour half a glass of red in an old jam jar.
The wine runs down the side of the bottle; I
Draw my finger up its neck
And then suck as one does a bleeding paper cut.
Sitting and sipping, I
Notice the paint chipping- here
On the cabinet where the water from the sink is dripping; I
Smile (ruefully) at the stained countertop,
A result of recent riotous food coloring use. I
Recall the smell of that buttercream,
That taste of abundance
And then remember I forgot to eat lunch today. I
Can hear the hum of the dishwasher
And maybe a faint laugh down the hall?
I am here now. I
Exhale the weight of another pandemic day passed
Then breathe in gratitude for this
Absolutely ordinary miracle
This holy moment of wholeness here, now.
There is quiet and dishes are done.
Sarah Shalin, M.D., Ph.D., is the chair of the Department of Dermatology at UAMS.