Poem by Reeta Subramaniam Mani

I screened the slide back and forth
As I peeked through the microscope
A furious looking cell stared at me
Eureka! I exclaimed with pride and glee
‘Carcinoma’ was my undoubted decree

My adamant colleague refused to agree
He made a mockery of my grey cell ability
As he dismissed my verdict with a tinge of hostility
‘Tis just a inflammatory cell, buddy
As benign as a dead flea!

My expertise doubted, my self-esteem trampled
A severe blow to my medical arrogance
I took it up as a challenge
My insult I needed to avenge
How can “I” be proven erroneous?

Both of us sought the counsel of Big Boss
Whose eyes can swoop on a cell like a hawk
I prayed my belligerent colleague be proven wrong
And my joy knew no bounds
“It is malignancy” he assertively pronounced

My battered ego appeased
Out of the hospital stormed an egotist
Ecstatic at being proven a whiz
I deserved to treat myself to a drink
Three cheers for me –An adept pathologist!

On my way I glanced at the lady, frail and old
Awaiting her young son’s report with hope
I did not to notice her, of course
Coz I wasn’t going to be the one to give her the news
That her young son had only a few tomorrows

I sat in my car and pondered where to party that evening
But something gnawed at my heart; an intense aching
Hot Tears poured down my cheeks sans warning
Undid the façade I was sporting
The wee bit of a human hidden in me startled my being

Late into the sleepless night I had a dream
Big Boss admonished me, yet on my face I saw a gleam
A single streak of the whitener fluid he drew
To erase my reporting and write one anew
Do early morning dreams really come true?

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