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Not My Bones


These are not my bones.
I do not know from where they come,
Or to whom they belong;
The patient is an enigma, whom I try to plumb.

These are not my bones.
For someone they are a guide,
A path to spiritual insight;
A source of healing, just as I hope to provide.

These are not my bones.
But perhaps I can use them still,
In restoring health to the patient;
Her spirit will have its fill.

These are not my bones.
Yet now I know whose they are,
The deer and patient are one;
And I am looking on from afar.


Deer bones are placed around a poem that elicits the importance of cultural humility for genuine medical care. In Cherokee tradition, the deer is a powerful totem animal for intellect, gracefulness, care, and compassion, all crucial to being a well-rounded physician who considers the entire patient, body, mind, and soul.

mccomas-not-my-bones

Kyra McComas Kyra McComas (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Utah School of Medicine


Kyra is a passionate first year medical student at the University of Utah with a background in biochemistry and history. In her limited spare time, she is a recipe-developer and loves baking and cooking as well as reading, traveling, and doing anything outdoors.