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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016


Pranav Kodial
Dahanu, Maharashtra, India


1994. I'm on duty as an intern in the Intensive Care Unit at our University Hospital. On the bed in front of me, a male patient lies unmoving, deep in coma—a case of metastatic stomach cancer.

Suddenly, his monitors start beeping and dinging in different tones. I sigh and stay in my chair. Senior's orders. The patient is a DNR—Do Not Resuscitate. He's long past medical help. A few seconds later, the machines go back to normal and I heave a sigh of relief.

Sonata No. 2
the notes
not loud enough

He's thirty-four years old, only twelve years older than me. I wonder, despite his miserable condition, what if he wants to live some more? What if he can see me sitting in front of him, doing nothing to resuscitate him? What must he think of me?

winter harvest . . .
sifting for corn
in the blackened sheaves

One hour later, the support-system alarms rent the air again and, then, the ECG monitor wave goes flat.

My heart takes a plunge. Odd, considering I'm used to seeing patients die. Then why am I feeling so haunted. Didn't I do my best, as his doctor? Or did I . . .?

I remain in my chair as the nurse switches off and disconnects the monitors. A sudden thought makes me shiver. What if, someday, I end up like him?

dark lake . . .
the bubbles from
a sunken pebble

Author’s Note: Sonata No. 2 or Piano Sonata No. 2 in B minor, is also known as 'The Funeral March." Composed by Frédéric Chopin, it was played at the state funerals of John F. Kennedy, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, as well as Chopin's own funeral.



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