Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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Name Tag

There is pain on her face.
I’m walking on the busy sidewalk,
I don’t know her.
She isn’t dying, hopefully not.
Her blue name tag says ‘Amy.’
It’s five o’clock,
She must be walking back from work.
Her hair is in a bun
And her left shoe has a hole
Right at the top where her big toe shows through.
She looks like she needs a cane,
But she cannot be older than thirty.
I do not think it is urgent,
But there is pain.
She is walking slowly,
With a slight limp,
Her left leg is hurt.
What am I supposed to do?
Does she need help?
Does she want help?
Can I even help her?
She doesn’t look up
Or ask for assistance.
She’s focused on the ground.
She seems determined,
She’ll probably be alright.
Maybe the pain is not related to her leg,
Does she need to talk about something?
I want to ask,
but it’s not my business,
she is probably fine …
emotionally, physically, mentally.
She may not want any attention drawn to her.
At the corner of 5th Avenue,
she goes left, I go right.
Now, she is gone.
I should have asked,
There was pain in Amy’s face,
And I did nothing.

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.

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.