Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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Elysium and Hades from My Backyard


Soon,
There
Will be
A true cure.
But for this moment,
That is nothing but reverie:
An oneiric lie
Pulling me
So far
Down,
Down
Beneath
The surface
Of my own backyard
Into the Stygian waters
Of the primeval
Fear we choose
To not
See.
See
With eyes
Facing up
At Elysium,
A firmament begetting life.
As my body falls
Farther down,
I let
Go.
Go
To where
I am called
Because it has spread
Beyond the reach of medicine,
Within the sulci
Of a brain
That is
Doomed,
Doomed
To lose
Its own way.
The oncologist,
With bleary eyes and deep regret,
Advised that I plan
As needed
For the
End,
End
Of a
Road traveled
For so many years,
A road now obstructed ahead,
A road now ending.
I drown my
Sickness
With,
With
Water
Set aflame.
Methotrexate failed?
Refractory to the treatment?
What does it all mean?
Loss of life?
Likely.
No,
No!
There must
Be a way
Out of this Hades,
This resolute fate binding me.
The wishful thinking:
There will be
A cure
Soon,
Soon.


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.


Ashten Duncan Ashten Duncan (5 Posts)

Medical Student Editor and Former Managing Editor (2017-2018)

OU-TU School of Community Medicine


Ashten Duncan is a MD/MPH student at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A 2018-2019 Albert Schweitzer Fellow, he is currently in the public health stage of his training. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he completed a B.S. in Microbiology alongside minors in Chemistry and French. An aspiring family physician, Ashten is currently on a National Health Service Corps scholarship, which entails a four-year term of service in an underserved community following residency training in primary care. His research interests include hope theory, burnout in medical education, and positive psychology in vulnerable populations. Ashten is passionate about creative writing and what it represents. He has published pieces on KevinMD.com and in-Training.org and in Blood and Thunder and the upcoming edition of The Practical Playbook.