Featured, Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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She came alone,
messy auburn hair with curls flowing.
Tiny and silent
taking up a third of the bed.

They listened to her heart.
Shone a light in her eyes —
black constricted, the blue pools steady.
They spoke soft words.
Examined dark blackberry patches
legs, arms, left ear, right rib cage.

She was calm
She did not cry.

They ordered scans and blood work
(head CT, skeletal survey).
Fast transport upstairs to the PICU.
HPI: Fast fall down stairs at home.
She was quiet

The neurosurgeon,
“We’re taking her now”
White lenses on a black screen
contained within the skull
grasping skull’s edges to hold on.
Few things made sense

She returned but her curls did not
Her head was the beginning of a mummy costume
She peered at me
She did not speak

We documented the blackberry patches,
we spoke to her softly.
The click
and click of the camera continued
Bruises on the labia.

from her grandmother.
Long conversations of attempted explanations
of white lenses and dark blackberries.

Sipping a juice box in bed
She did not speak

Funny walking, a minor dragging of the left foot.
Grasping a teddy bear, its fur smooshed against her face.
Two weeks of rehab
the healing of blackberries.
She never once cried,
She held my hand.

Down the hallway
I hear a giggle
a shout of unrecognizable words.
A tiny girl
taking up a third of bed.

A month of rehab
the absence of blackberries.
Short tendrils of auburn.
Her grandmother invites me in
tears of healing,

It was not long before they took them downstairs
in the custody of her grandparents.

She said goodbye
She never once cried.

Image credit: Blackberry Bushes (CC BY-NC 2.0) by CaptPiper

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

Rachael Herriman (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University

Rachael is a fourth-year medical student at Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, OH class of 2020. In 2016, she graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in biology. She enjoys running, practicing yoga, singing in church and discovering new restaurants in her free time. After graduating medical school, Rachael will be attending the University of Chicago for her pediatric residency.