Secondary Logo

An Incantation for the Small Hours of the Night

Stenzel, Annie

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3180309453
Medicine and the Arts

“An Incantation for the Small Hours of the Night” is printed with the permission of the author.

Anne Farmakidis, senior editor of Academic Medicine, is the editor of “Medicine and the Arts.” (Unsolicited submissions are welcome.)

Unspeakable some thing is stalking me

silent in its approach.

Indifferent some thing has me in its sights

is circling (no malice, just menace)

inexorable, unavoidable.

Incomprehensible some thing is there

in the darkness beside me

its presence within sound of my scampering

heartbeat, labored breathing, stifled whimpers.

Inescapable some thing has gained entry now.

Terror is all I am; my former human

being is usurped. I am the trapped but conscious

animal, the threatened insect, the doomed

(it matters not what kind of) creature

who here awaits one final blow.

I live with these unannounced arrivals

of an alien occupant of my mortal form

so Gods, let me bless and cherish every moment

of its absence to arm myself with consciousness

that every earthly darkness has given way to light, thus far.

© 2007 Association of American Medical Colleges