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
He remembered the days / his hands were used / only / to heal, comfort
An addict in detox, again. / Chief complaint of “at his wits’ end” / Manipulation, his malicious game.
Ajoba shuffles across the room towards aji, screaming / ‘Why do you ask the same questions over and over again?’ / ‘Why can’t you just try to remember?’ / ‘I forget’, she replies
The mask on baby’s face / And he knew and didnt know what was going on; / He had blurred vision / And an amnestic cocktail coursing through his veins already
I wrote this poem during my first year as a medical student while learning physiology. I was struck by the concept of human growth mechanisms. I found it fascinating that our organs grow and change in size through such concrete cellular mechanisms. Growth is such a universal and fundamental characteristic to living beings, and I wanted to play with both language and form to contrast a scientific explanation of growth to the emotional growth that occurs when we experience pain or suffering.
I could see the scythe swinging from one eye to another / The Reaper hovered towards my room / Life had left me months ago, when I had first heard the news / Now I knew it would’ve been better, had I not left the womb
“It’s time to wake up boss, please open your eyes. / There’s much work to be done and we’re ready to advise.” / Curiosity propelled me to confront my kooky staff. / One flipped through a dictionary, the other spoke on his behalf.
The cadaver lab speaks for itself. Responding, however, is more difficult. This is a eulogy asks forgiveness for every joke, jab and cringe delivered in medical school’s temporary tombs.
Hunched over in your chair, / Guarding an abscess with apathy, / Your arm is swollen, angry, burning.
From deep below / layers and rings of earth / I feel the vibrations / Pulse