I first heard the click, click of her black stilettos / Her heels narrowed to a tiny point that seemed to pierce the ground. / I imagined the floor whimpering at every step she took / The faces of terrified tiles reflecting in glistening heels
After a day of screams and sorrow and blood, / Every drop of my compassion leached from me. / Racing home to beat the dawn…
In the playbook of professionalism, / Where is room for the physician who / Reads German poetry to the dying patient / For days and days until her end?
“Please not me,” I pray earnestly. Not me. Not me. I don’t want to become the medical student-turned-resident-turned-physician who loses empathy. The one who loses compassion. The one who takes lives and near death experiences for granted, who quickly learns, as an ER attending once bluntly stated, that “everyone’s a liar.” Not me.
The mother looks at the doctor / and back at me. / The baby smiles. / She says, / “She won’t keep her food down.”
Here I am, one week from Match — / Decisions that come with a catch. / I know not who I’ll be quite soon / Nor where I’ll be to play in tune.
When you look at their white coats / Do you see what I see? / Do you see future doctors / Who are struggling to be
in path lab / the residents / pass around organs / and explain
What happened to his smile? / Minutes ago, he was beaming. / Now the patient’s face contorted as he yelled. / Fury filled every crevice and crack of his face.
I found such peace in our stillness. / Your stomach rumblings almost music. / I caught myself peeking ever so often, / to find solace in your breathing.
For the smaller challenges of medicine, like fitting an entire person’s pertinent medical status in the half-inch gap between names on the patient list.
rivers of blood / dried / by formaldehyde