Off the Shelf
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πάθος (pathos)

in path lab
the residents
pass around organs
and explain
how bones grow out of a lung
how nutmeg forms in a liver
how a colon becomes a shag carpet
and i poke and i prod and i learn

but the first time that i see
a pair of lungs with an embolus
i become diaphoretic tachycardic xerostomic
i stop hearing the resident
i stop seeing the other med students
it’s just me and those lungs
your lungs

in my mind
you’re still in that hospital bed
asking me for a can of soda
and i’m still 19
working with my first patients
and you’re not dead
you’re not dead

and then your lungs are in my hands
and they break my heart
they break my heart

Slavena Salve Nissan Slavena Salve Nissan (3 Posts)

Medical Student Editor and Contributing Writer

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Slavena Salve Nissan moved to Brooklyn, New York from Baku, Azerbaijan when she was 6-years-old and comes from an ethnic minority known as the Mountain Jews. She graduated with a major in biology from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in 2015 and after graduation, worked as a medical receptionist. She’s currently a fourth year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where she’s continuing to explore the intricacies of her two passions: healthcare and the arts.