Today started as any other might,
but now there’s a lot more
donning and doffing.
Truthfully, I had never attended too carefully
to those words.
They needed to be
put back on my mind.
There were more barriers,
and I paid more attention to the necessary
of medical ritual.
No unnecessary touching, including handshakes, and reassuring pats on the
color-coded sock feet
of patients nervous for surgery.
The accretions of new worries
make the day more cumbersome,
and faster, without adding to the sense of worth
that often animates professional life.
By the end, I’m heavy with the weight of so many tacit reminders that
I’m a “hero” now,
with all the distance and loneliness that entails.