This is part of the Medical Humanities series on Op-Med, which showcases creative work by Doximity members. Do you have a creative work related to your medical practice that you’d like to share? Send it to us here.
"Now That the Kids Have Gotten Their Shots"
I am not writing about COVID anymore.
Because of the two years wondering about droplets and aerosols, I almost forgot: There is no uncertainty here— The bullets are airborne And the kids are getting shot with their masks on Even after getting their second shot, The one that was supposed to save them.
I am not writing about COVID anymore because I have written so many poems To capture the Queen Anne’s Lace blossoming white on chest X-rays The poet in me got so caught up massaging the word “immunity” into my stanzas That I almost forgot my old hangup: The kids getting shot in the classrooms.
The editors always want work to be timely And it is time for me to abandon the poetic turn of protection from a needle To instead remind them Right now yes right now The kids are getting shot.
What was your inspiration?
My inspiration was the latest round of school shootings. I have been writing about gun violence, even pediatric gun violence, for years. I have written about the children I have known who have died, the children who came into the trauma unit where I worked, and the children I fear will be my patients when I become a physician. Trauma care and care for gun violence victims are inextricable in this country. When the Uvalde shooting occurred, I realized I could not wait to send this poem out, that it was urgent, and that someone needed to say what we all know: someone is shooting the kids.
Why did you choose poetry? What interests you about it?
I've been writing poetry since my first job working trauma. Words are what makes us different from the other life on our planet, and are a rich field to play in. I need to use poetry to express my thoughts because it shirks consolidation and ignores the rules of traditional prose. We have more opportunities in poetry than in prose to be free in every direction.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your involvement in or views on arts in medicine?
Art and medicine like to pretend that they are two disciplines, but they are in fact one. They are two parts of the complex notion of healing, two forces for change and for good, and two homes that I am lucky to inhabit. I encourage all medical practitioners to pour themselves into art whenever they can, and I think they will find the giving leaves them more full, and less empty.
Maya J. Sorini is a poet, performer, and medical student with a background in trauma surgery research. She has a master’s degree and has taught in Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine program, and continues to work as a freelance Narrative Medicine workshop facilitator. Her work has appeared in JAMA, Intima Magazine, Tendon Magazine, Snapdragon, Tofu Ink, and Doximity's Op-Med. She has performed her work as part of Resilience Dance Company St. Louis's, "Stanzas and Sculptures" and for Frontline Arts' annual benefit. She currently attends Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and lives in New Jersey with her grandmother.
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