Medicine is a march, but it’s not like Sherman’s to the sea. You don’t burn what you leave, and the sea is always just beyond the next hill.
Medicine is a nap in the library because it doesn’t really matter where you sleep, or what matters more is recharging, that consolidation.
Medicine is a quiet talk, an ongoing conversation with strangers, who, instead of responding, just remind you how little you know, how far you have to go and sometimes, how far you have come.
Medicine is having a room to yourself for you and your screens and maybe a book made of trees because it doesn’t matter how, as long as you keep up.
Medicine is being afraid that you are the next one-in-a-million, that the ache in your back or bump on your eyelid is cancerous because you know that disease, unlike the rest of the world, doesn’t care who you are or what you dream.
Medicine is what everyone says it is, and where people disagree because it’s relevant to the tradesman and CEO in glass towers and rusty villages. And so it will be until we figure it out, or until nothing at all can save us.
Medicine is a job like most because it might wear you down and make you feel like you’re in the wrong place. And it’s unlike most because the cold edge of challenge, when we feel it at our throats, is why we choose this mess.
We like the struggle. We like the uncertainty.
Medicine is not for the weak because I know how weak I am, and I know I must do something about it.
I know I must because it’s not about me.
No … it never was and never will be.
Poetry Thursdays is a weekly newsletter that highlights poems by medical students and physicians. This initiative is led by Slavena Salve Nissan at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. If you are interested in contributing, please contact Slavena.