Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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Basil


It was pink
like the flowers he buys his wife.
It was not uniform.
There were spots of red
where his skin was as fragile as a basil leaf.

Right on the border of his hairline,
like a grassy hill in the spring time,
laid a patch of pink.

He looked in the mirror every day
and saw it for a year.
Because sometimes
we let weeds grow in our garden.

He did not present to discuss this patch,
but I had to ask
why it looked the way it did.
I took a sample of this pink flesh and saw
his eyes well up,
just as they probably did on his wedding day.

I gave him a ring
three days later.
He picked up the phone,
and I told him the dreaded news.

But even the coldest winters will pass,
and he will continue
to bring his wife
her favorite pink flowers.


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.


Lisa Schwartz (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

UC Riverside School of Medicine


Lisa is a fourth year medical student at UC Riverside. She completed her bachelor's degree at UC Santa Barbara in biopsychology with a minor in English. She enjoys hiking, backcountry camping, and cooking plant-based meals.