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Education  |   September 2014
The Line
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • The author thanks Doug Hester, M.D., and Stephen Harvey, M.D. (both from the Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee), for their listening ears, insightful reviews, gentle prodding, and examples of balance.
    The author thanks Doug Hester, M.D., and Stephen Harvey, M.D. (both from the Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee), for their listening ears, insightful reviews, gentle prodding, and examples of balance.×
  • Accepted for publication January 29, 2014.
    Accepted for publication January 29, 2014.×
Article Information
Education / Mind to Mind / Cardiovascular Anesthesia / Pediatric Anesthesia / Renal and Urinary Systems / Electrolyte Balance / Respiratory System / Technology / Equipment / Monitoring
Education   |   September 2014
The Line
Anesthesiology 09 2014, Vol.121, 660. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000000240
Anesthesiology 09 2014, Vol.121, 660. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000000240
Pacing, staring, slumping ’midst the beeping,
they are so focused on The Line.
Is she alive? Don’t let her be dead.
They imagine The Line as a switch, not a dimmer.
I see lines cast by a prism of glass at sunset
while hearts march on from red through violet.
The rubor of a foreign invasion,
or amber urine from dehydration,
jaundice of a single duct dammed,
purulence with virulence selected by man,
to the cyan of cells gasping for air,
or a purple mass she’d prefer laissez faire.
While sitting, waiting, watching each shade,
it’s as hard as declaring the end of a day
when the sun is gone, is it yet fully dark?
Until they drift downstairs, and cross the street to the park
where children play, and couples lay,
and old men gray in trousers frayed.
There this spectrum converges
into bright white light.