Is this man or is this flesh
That implores my expertise?
Is it meat or is it human
When we meet, which do I see?
In the lab, I dissect a body.
In the clinic, he stands before me whole.
I’ve learned every minutiae of its anatomy,
But have I peered within her soul?
What is a face but bone and cartilage?
What is a mind but sockets and wires?
When cutting knees and plastering arms,
Am I saving lives or changing tires?
I see the parts but miss the person.
I note the rot and ignore the fresh.
Yet then at night I lay and wonder,
Am I man or am I flesh?
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.