Sunday, November 21, 2021

Tied for third place in the Synapse Storytelling Contest creative writing category. Zoë Onion’s “Induction” invites the reader into a brief but poignant exchange between a medical practitioner and a patient during the induction of anesthesia. The poem beautifully portrays the delicate and almost-surreal work of the anesthesia team, and crisp details hint at the mingling of attentiveness and duty in someone entrusted to hold another’s consciousness.


June 20, 2020

Just breath deeply - 

I tell him,

pressing the creases of the mask

around his nose, mouth.

His eyes flutter-


then I feel the tone slip

from his muscles.

His jaw hangs against my hand.

His anxiety, his creased forehead, his tapping fingers


into the ether.

The trust

overwhelms me.


We slide in tubes

plug in sensors

stick on electrodes

infuse medications

flip on machines


in the cockpit

of his autonomic nervous system;

meddlers, imposters,

tricking the heart and vessels and lungs

to follow our command.


The waveforms

of his body


and flow

around us.


On the other side of the curtain

they make the first incision.

He snores.

I touch his forehead lightly.