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About More Voices

Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.



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Martin Kohn

There are certain days
when death is just
not appropriate

When the mock orange blossoms
scent through the window
next to your sleeping son

When your wife stands naked
at the top 
of the stairs

When the day stretches inside out
and the city vibrates in doo wop
riffs and arpeggios

When the scraps of paper
each containing a random word
fall to the floor 
and assemble themselves
into the sonnet
you could never write--
even if your life depended 
on it

About the poet:

Martin Kohn is director of the medical humanities program at the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Ethics, Humanities and Spiritual Care, and an associate professor of medicine at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. With Carol Donley he co-founded the Center for Literature and Medicine at Hiram College and was a co-founding editor of the Literature & Medicine series at Kent State University Press. His poetry has appeared in numerous print and electronic journals.

About the poem: 

Husband: ...I just got another poem accepted for publication...uh...and you're in it.

 Am I going to be embarrassed?

 Well, you're naked.

Wife (thirty minutes later, having read the poem)
: You have such a good imagination...I love it...It's the best you've written.

(Husband sits in appreciative silence, with permission to publish.)

Poetry editors:

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro