Off the Shelf
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First Look through an Ophthalmoscope


I approach the translucent window,
a milky opacity locking tight its hinges.
Vainly I press forward, reaching
for the soft sill on which to rest my hand.
With a bare warning, I am there,
peering out on a foggy new realm.
I crook my finger, one click or two –
the fog dissipates, melting into cool clarity.

A pale pregnant moon hangs in a wine-drop sky.
Splayed limbs of a redbud tree throb and pulsate,
striving to obscure the yellow orb resting behind.
Some brief cloud cover textures the firmament.
Stricken by the beauty, a thought blossoms:

No wonder the soul resides in a universe of its own.

**Featured image from the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.​ 

Joseph Hodapp (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Medical College of Wisconsin


I am currently a third-year medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I have been writing fiction since fourth grade, but medicine has given me a new lens through which to explore non-fiction, as well. I believe in the healing power of creating writing and self-expression. In the face of difficult training, tapping into my creativity helps to feed my soul and keep me in touch with the humanity that made me choose medicine in the first place.