by Bill Rector
Where, William Carlos Williams,
are your patients?
How in the world, the words,
did you escape
wouldn’t a few
more fit? Between curved
blades of obstetric
forceps, the book of birth
and death certificates?
White as the door
are they still
on the heart’s rapid knock,
the hoped-for answer?
Why is your first name
also your last?
(Today’s poem previously appeared in The Offending Adam and appears here today with permission from the poet.)
Bill Rector is a physician practicing in Denver whose poetry has been published in a variety of journals, including Field, Prairie Schooner, The Denver Quarterly, and Hotel Amerika. His book, bill, was published in 2006 by Proem Press.
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is dedicated to Jenny Stella, who, like Dr. Rector and William Carlos Williams, shares her life with both poetry and medicine. Having been at once a poet and a lawyer, I understand what it is to live a life that is both shared and divided in this way. Jenny Stella and I have spent many hours contemplating what it means to inhabit two demanding arenas in life; how an artist can give themselves fully to a professional practice, and how a professional can give enough of themselves to their art. What today’s poem explores is where the medicine itself shows, or does not show, its face in poetry.
Want to see more by and about Bill Rector?
Bill Rector is Poetry Editor of The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine
Buy Bill Rector’s book, bill
2 thoughts on “SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: BILL RECTOR”
Doctor poetry – interesting. I like the cross-over from his practice to his art.
oh! how a poem can lead one onto a myriad multitude of roads … bill’s poem got me walkin’ … the health condition of WCW, western ‘medicine,’ poetry, healing (or not), courage and kindness, +++ much gratitude to all the (‘Stay Human!’} humans out there!