Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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An Ode to Paul Hoover

The caterpillar munching on hair
beneath your scrub cap

A hearse with a “Soccer Mom” sticker
On the back window

Listening to your heartbeat through a tin can

Eating pudding with the cafeteria’s
last plastic knife

A “good evening” to the rising sun

Sinus bradycardia

Two tightly tied hospital gowns
and covered feet

I hear your IV pole squeak from down the hall

A Peaceful death

A last pack of cigarettes
washed down with Blue Moon

Your scrawling signature on a consent form

The tools that touched you in an autoclave
then pouring bleach on the bloody linens

Thinking of your smile
without documenting its droop

Author’s note: This poem is inspired by the work and style of Paul Hoover, an American poet who is currently a professor at San Francisco State University. He is well known for his anthology “Hairpin Turns,” where he would pair words with unexpected metaphors. Each stanza is independent of the others and yet somehow they tell a story when put together.

Poetry Thursdays is an initiative that highlights poems by medical students. If you are interested in contributing or would like to learn more, please contact our editors.

Mallory Evans (5 Posts)


Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

Mallory Evans is a third-year medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in cellular and molecular biology and a minor in German. When not studying, you can find her running many miles on woodland trails, perfecting a black bean burger recipe, or saying answers to Jeopardy! out loud at the TV. One day she hopes to pursue a career in internal medicine and pediatrics and travel to at least one place on every continent.

This is Water

This is Water is an attempt at documenting intentional living. This column will strive to highlight the extraordinary meaning of the often unnoticed, and to greet the hard and joyful parts of the medical school experience with gratitude (even when, especially when, we don't feel like it).