Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays, Writers-in-Training
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If You Find Me

If you find me
And you run the protocol
Dig the end of your reflex hammer
Across the sole of my foot
Shine a light into
Inappropriately constricted pupils
Pinch my arm
Into a purple bruise
And wait for a scream
That doesn’t come

Start with my kidneys
Scalpels across my abdomen
In confident arcs
I have seen dialysis
Plastic tubing tethered patients
Wrapped in fleece cocoons
Once mine
They are yours
With love

As a medical student
I watched in a lecture hall
As the heart
Became contorted
Dilated, thickened
As if disease
Had placed it within the borders
Of a Fun House

And I can tell you with certainty
That my heart
Is a good one
When alive
My pulse was steady
So, take your saw to my chest
To my sternum
Incise the pericardium
It’s okay
I want you to do this
I won’t feel pain

Take my pelvis
And give it to
The anatomy department
Of a medical school
Because at one point
There was a woman
Who was generous
Enough to lend me hers
And it was through her
That I discovered
The power and beauty
Of my own body

If there is an accident
And you find me
Don’t leave me
But hold my hand
Because I am scared
And know you may be scared too
Of my cold fingers
That do not receive your warm ones
with gratitude
But in this
I don’t want to be alone

Poetry Thursdays is an initiative that highlights poems by medical students and physicians. If you are interested in contributing or would like to learn more, please contact our editors.



Hillary Mullan Hillary Mullan (4 Posts)


University of Massachusetts Medical School

Hillary is a member of the MD Class of 2020 at University of Massachusetts. She received her BA in Neuroscience from Oberlin College and is interested in the intersection of art and medicine. In addition to writing, she also enjoys creating medically inspired paper art and has had pieces published in "Intima" and "Pulse."