Review of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande

Review of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande
or, Froward Violet Chooses the Manner of Her Death
by Sujata Iyengar
 

Let me walk to your flowers,
Feral and earthy within a square-stone space,
Crumpled scraps of hearts-ease beneath my bunioned toes,
Bright antirrhinum mouths silent in moues of indifference,
Thin heart-squeezing fox-glove fingers:
One last promenade, from sick-bed to flower-bed
To death-bed as in the fall gold dragon heads
Brown to death’s-head dry. 

These leaves I can pluck without stooping,
Taste, grimace, swallow, breathe for a beat
Before the bees hum about mine ears.
The ants fill my eyes my bones turn to rock
And my heart fills with
Sky. 

***

Sujata Iyengar teaches Shakespeare, Book History and Medical Humanities at the University of Georgia. Her scholarly books include Shades of Difference: Mythologies of Skin Color in Early Modern England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), Shakespeare's Medical Language (Arden/Bloomsbury, 2011 and 2014), and the edited collection Disability, Health, and Happiness in the Shakespearean Body (Routledge, 2015). Her poems have appeared or will appear in Upstart, The Road Not Taken, and Measure.