Do you hear what I hear?
The humming of machines,
which can’t breathe,
but enable artificial ventilation for living beings.
The moaning of patients
with overwhelming pains,
racking their bodies wave after wave.
The beeping of monitors,
sending out alerts
of organs crashing, failing to work.
Do you see what I see?
Final embraces, tender yet reluctant,
hands clasped painfully tight.
When to make the dreaded call?
How can we tell if the timing is right?
Tears streaming, overflowing emotions,
none of them are ready,
except for the one who lies silently
with breaths ragged and pulses thready.
The chair that was pulled close to the patient’s bed
will soon be pushed back against the wall,
as the family members at last depart
down the brightly lit, newly darkened halls.
Do you feel what I feel?
Skin — paper thin — of one of tender age
Skin — paper thin — of one burning while awake
Skin — paper thin — of one soon to enter the grave
The beating of a heart that soon will halt.
The percussion of lungs filled with sputum-like froth.
The edema of limbs flowing with fluids and salt.
Pangs of pain for each patient we fail.
Pangs of pain for each body we can’t heal.
Pangs of pain for each soul in this field.
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.