1. Pemmaraju, Naveen MD

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Naveen Pemmaraju, MD... - Click to enlarge in new windowNaveen Pemmaraju, MD

The Quiet Guardians

Solemn is the night


Where blood has been spilled


In the streets of paralysis


Not in the midst of War


But Battle of a different Ilk


The silent fires


Never-ending, senseless crime


Relentless non-front-page-heroics


Quiet CPR compressions


While the rest of us sleep in our homes


Tucked away from the mayhem of the streets


The first responders' task


Is seldom the work of glory


And yet their yeomen's' work


Is what keeps our families safe at night


When a first responder dies


It is his or her family that now suffers


And the many hitherto unknown victims


They would have saved from harms grasp


I weep for the 3-year-old son who, waiting to be read to at night finds out


His brave father


Who was killed in yesterday's fire


I weep for the 10-year-old daughter


Who will never again go to the movies with her police officer mother killed in the line of duty


I weep for the paramedic's son who will never again play chase around the house with his father


I weep for the steadfast spouses of all first responders quietly wondering if their mate is going to come home tonight


The calling and the sacrifice


The acts of selfless giving


To all the paramedics and firefighters and police officers and other first responders who keep our families protected


We all owe you and your families buckets full of our heartfelt love and thanks for all you do.


Poetry by Cancer Caregivers


NAVEEN PEMMARAJU, MD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Leukemia at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. "Inspired by a recent, moving newspaper clipping I saw of a first responder who died here in town, I dedicate this poem to all of the first responders who keep us safe at night, as well as to their loving families," he said.