Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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A Crab in the Swell


I float in an ocean of sterile cerulean.
In this deep of drapery and gowns,
One could swim out and never see the shore.
The island of the patient’s flesh —
Anchoring us to the reality
Of why we paddled out.
The patient’s carapace has been pierced
To the adipose beneath,
Glistening and ripe
Like some supremed citrus.
Suction of crimson,
Scent and puff of cautery.
The surgeon has found her ‘white whale’
In a propagation of cells
Changed and looking out
For their own survival now.
A crab that’s burrowed into a dune of tissue.
Cancer.
Instruments sail across the blue–
Flesh, like waves of the red sea,
Once parted
Begin to make amends,
With mortal intervention.
In hours that feel like minutes,
The tide has gone out.


Poetry Thursdays is a weekly newsletter that highlights poems by medical students and physicians. This initiative is led by Slavena Salve Nissan at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. If you are interested in contributing, please contact Slavena.


Chelsea Cosner Chelsea Cosner (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University


Chelsea Cosner is an M.D. candidate for the class of 2019 at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University. Chelsea graduated the University of Miami in 2015 with a B.S. in neuroscience and minors in chemistry, history and English. Chelsea is a writer and Miami native who enjoys crafting and learning new things in her spare time. She believes in advocacy and activism through medicine.