in the pink hospital gown
sits in a windowless room.
She knows no one,
cries for her mother,
shakes her head,
blonde curls strewn across her face.
She waves her arms erratically
as if she is trying to fight.
Or maybe fly.
Her four-year-old body
looks like a small animal,
to battle against mightier forces.
arms are wrapped around her.
She is pulled towards the bed.
The small animal whimpers
as the mask is put over her mouth.
she stops moving.
Whole body frozen
except for the rise and fall of her chest
mimicking the flap of a baby bird’s wings.
A strap is thrown across her body
then tightened at the edges of the bed.
three times her size
crowd over her still body
cover her with blankets
exposing only a sliver of her left thigh.
They make the first incision.
As the surgery continued
and she remained sleeping,
I wondered where her dreams took her.
I hope she’s somewhere in open air.
Hope she’s among the clouds.
Hope she’s able to use her wings,
and the gases going in and out of her body
become nothing more than the wind underneath.
I hope she ends up feeling
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.