We stood behind cool new
med school glass watching
Mexican farmworkers cross
the highway, tend cotton
in hundred-and-ten heat.

A classmate said he worked
harder up here
in the library, deserved
all that future money.
Above the old anatomy

lab where cadavers slept
in formaldehyde, we poured
our best years into tomes
of pharmacology, then headed
to China Express

on Fourth for exotic oyster
sauce, cashews, tired of buffalo
wings and Coke. My lab partner
joked, How do you get a hundred
Jews into a VW Bug?*

*Answer: throw a penny in

while little Laura Garcia
two nights ago in the ER
bled from her nose.
The head pathologist,
sporting a janitorial ring of keys,

said the intern packed it
with gauze and sent
her parents packing, a sixty-mile
round-trip to autopsy,
pointed out the leukemic

drainage from her chest
with his scalpel. Later,
puckish Dr. P. would flash
his smile and slides of naked women
between cuts of uterine wall.


Abby Caplin’s poem “Still Arguing with Old Synagogue” was a finalist in the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award. She is also a recipient of the San Francisco Poets Eleven 2016 poetry contest, judged by Jack Hirschman. She participated in workshops at the Key West Literary Seminar, the Annual Taos Writing Retreat for Health Professionals, the Healing Art of Writing, and Gotham Writers’ Workshops. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Adanna, Big Muddy, The Binnacle, Burningword, Crack the Spine, Forge, The Healing Muse, OxMag, Poetica, The Scream Online, TSR: The Southampton Review, Tiger’s Eye, Tikkun, Willow Review and others.