Off the Shelf, Poetry Thursdays
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You Should Know

Editor’s note: in-Training is committed to the expression of medical student voices. This poem speaks of sexual harassment, assault and trauma. It is a powerful expression of how these experiences can impact medical students in a way that we feel is important to share. Just as we are dedicated to the medical student experience, we are devoted to protecting our authors. Over the years, the in-Training board has published pieces from anonymous authors that we deem to be impactful. After discussion with this author, we elected to proceed with anonymous publication of this poem, and we thank the author for sharing this piece with us.

You say that I must be hot
and reach over to take my coat off.
No, I’ll keep it on.

You say that you know my family,
that I can trust you.
No, I feel like a pawn.

You tell me to relax,
not to worry.
No, I feel confused.

You say that you can help me
and talk of your power.
No, I can do this without you.

You seem so comfortable
knowing I’ll stay silent.
Yes, I did for so long.

Was I wrong?

You said I need to feel more comfortable
touching people if I want to be a doctor.
No, not like this.

You said you would write me
a letter of recommendation.
No, I don’t want it.

You stroked my shoulder
while looking me up and down.
No, I step away.

You asked me to turn around,
grabbing my ass to point out the sciatic nerve.
No, that’s not okay.

You asked if I want to stay
a little longer after hours.
No, I should leave.

You had a heart attack
a few years after I left.
Know, I felt relieved.

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

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