Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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what are you doing?
i don’t understand.
you’re taking lives
with the iron in your hands.
it’s cold outside
so you’re packing heat.
you want to feel strong
but your mind is weak.

new drills for the kids
hypervigilant adults.
you’re making things worse
rubbing wounds with the salt
from their own sweat
dripping in fear
that if they turn the corner
you’ll be near.

morning rain brings
more lives lost.
mourning cries for those
who paid the cost.
what was the quick
transaction for?
mental health
for death’s door.
or is it more?
is there a cure?
i’m not sure.
please, no more.


Author’s note: For context, this was written after the Orange, California mass shooting in March, 2021. I had woken up to the news about a mom who was shot and had lost her son, whom she was holding at the time in the shooting. It was a rainy day outside, which felt reflective of the somber mood. Like others, I so badly wanted the shootings to stop, and then wrote the above.

Image credit: Empty classroom (CC BY-NC 2.0) by dharder9475

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.

Holly Ingram (11 Posts)

Medical Student Editor and Contributing Writer

East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine

Holly Ingram is a fourth-year medical student at the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine in Greenville, North Carolina. In 2016, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology with minors in chemistry and anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her free time, Holly enjoys playing soccer and visiting waterfalls. After medical school, Holly would like to pursue a career in pediatrics.