Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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Broken


A few winters ago, you called me after a ski accident and announced
“I have fractured my tibial plate.”
I didn’t know what that meant, what to make of it,
how to comfort you but to hug you,
my entire body a cast for yours —
unwieldy, over prescriptive, largely useless.

Today I have seen the inside of a knee,
seen the way the head of the tibia knows how to purposefully hug the femur —
the right amount of touch in the right places —
the intimate knowledge of the patella as it
protects, supports, acknowledges the joint.

I have seen the way bones know how to support one another,
and I now know.
I had so much to learn,
I was young.
We were broken.
I didn’t yet know how to fix.


Poetry Thursdays is a weekly newsletter that highlights poems by medical students and physicians. This initiative is led by Slavena Salve Nissan at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. If you are interested in contributing, please contact Slavena.


Julia Danford Julia Danford (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth


Julia is a second year medical student at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. In 2013, she graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a focus in poetry. Outside of school she enjoys reading short stories, spending time outside, and relaxing with friends.