It’s past midnight when I leave
Hearing the heavy doors ca-thunk behind me
As locks engage.
I automatically glance side to side
Watching for movement
Seeing if I’m alone.
Look up to cross check
The roof’s silver corners
That glint in the half moon.
I don’t know what I expect to see
And what if I do?
I haven’t thought that far ahead.
Imagining a grotesque monster’s silhouette
Framed against the dark.
Or more worryingly, a human’s
Of course, I see nothing.
But that doesn’t begin to explain why I always look up
Day, night, dusk, dawn, cityscape
Is it when I find my neck aching?
A kyphotic curve
From that familiar huddle over books and screens.
Or, is it that itch?
When I’m too far gone from my camera
Alert for that perfect shot?
Or, perhaps it’s from thinking
It’s too high.
It’s too hard.
It’s too insurmountable, so why even look?
Or maybe it’s the decades of subtle and not so subtle remarks
Of “This is not for you”
Or “You do not look like those up there.”
I’ve learned that light alone
Does not illuminate.
So, one way or another
I keep craning my neck
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.