Off the Shelf
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His raspy cough did echo stridently.
Consumed with stupor at present was he.
Although I wished to speak ardently,
I sat and stared; my mind was lost at sea.

Hepatic failure claimed him mentally,
And colored yellow both his eyes so wide
As too his being stained corporally.
Despite this, haven safe he stayed inside.

Remaining silent, gripping tight his hand,
I bowed my head: a solemn moment bound.
The time was nigh for this expiring man,
But always here does dignity astound.

I entered — later now — his former room
And recalled well a death devoid of gloom.

This piece first appeared in the 2017 issue of Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine, a medical humanities journal published by the students of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the journal or submitting a piece for the 2018 edition, please visit the website for more information.

Ashten Duncan Ashten Duncan (3 Posts)

Managing Editor

OU-TU School of Community Medicine

Ashten Duncan is a second-year medical student at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he completed a B.S. in Microbiology alongside a minor in Chemistry and in French. An aspiring family physician, Ashten is currently on a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship, which entails a 4-year term of service in an underserved community following residency training in primary care. He is planning to pursue a MPH degree between his 2nd year and 3rd year of medical school, with the intention of applying the public health knowledge to his future practice.