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COVID Burnout

Editor’s note: in-Training is committed to the expression of medical student voices. This poem’s recognition of isolation, depiction of medical student burnout and urge for refuge intertwine into a powerful expression that we feel is important to share. Just as we are dedicated to the medical student experience, we are devoted to protecting our authors. Over the years, the in-Training board has published pieces from anonymous authors that we deem to be impactful. After discussion with this author, we elected to proceed with anonymous publication in order to assure that any misinterpretations of this work or its motives would not result in professional or personal repercussions.

I’m not the first to think
under my breath, even out loud:
To test positive for COVID.
Even after this morning.

A previously healthy, positive,
34-year-old clotted his legs. It was sudden,
and so severe surgeons had to chop
the feet clean off.

Might it be worth the risk?
To break the stretch of 4:30 dark mornings,
end indistinguishable, of days overstuffed,
stale panic-flavored questions unanswered.

Just to shut the door for a moment,
through no fault of my own.
Just a door not wall, not to quit, just break
to breathe. Probably not particularly well,

But maybe I’d stand over the stove
feel the damp burn of soup steam
on chin and cheek, later eat,
and with bowl on bedside table, sleep.

Image credit: hospital (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by pol ubeda

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.

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