Long before we see the face, we hear the crying. Mournful, broken, it expresses general discomfort more than acute pain. In it lies the anxiety of all those children brought here against their will, made to submit to the probing of pale strangers who speak an alien tongue.

AftertheScienceIllustrationThat’s the start of the May Reflections essay, “After the Science,” by Charlie Geer, about working as a medical translator on an Episcopal church–sponsored team in the Dominican Republic. Geer, who published a comic novel in 2005, writes with sensitivity about the limits of medicine and the way the “nurses gather round, the compassion that brought them to medicine picking up where medicine leaves off.”—JM, senior editor