Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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Forgive Me

In my white coat,
I ask for forgiveness.

Forgive me,
to the weary homeless man
walking into our student-run clinic; 
I’ve tinkered on, 
my hands fumbling to find
your heartbeat —
my inept care

Forgive me, 
that you are the practice model;
and your only access to care,
furthers my own education.

Forgive me,
to the ones that medicine has harmed,
that our hospitals are built on —
Black and brown bodies,
in our medical textbooks.

Forgive me,
for the grave robbers 
who used your bodies
for medical research;
for capitalism 
that has demarcated your land,
into food deserts, 
and polluted air quality, 
and no green spaces.
Forgive me that your lungs are broken, 
and your heart is weak.

Forgive me for the violence you have suffered.

I try my best —
I try to do better,
the weight of history,
staining the white coat
that we all wear —

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.

Qiang Zhang Qiang Zhang (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

Qiang Zhang is a first year medical student at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in LA, CA class of 2025. In 2019, she graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She enjoys yoga, playing music, and reading books in her free time. After graduating medical school in 2025, Qiang would like to pursue a career in Internal Medicine.