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.
His little body an apostrophe
Little boy body pierced with hot metal
Small metal small body
Speculation then stillness
Rooms that are never dark suddenly still
His body a little bump under the sheet
Quiet hands pass around metal
Ask metal questions
Call for bags of red liquid metal
The panic in my throat metal
A feeling cuffed phantom around wrists
Teeming with red metal
The minutes metal
The relief of the metal bed rails put up
His heart pumping metal
The new knights from next door
Wheel to the children’s hospital
A comma thank God not a period p>
What was your inspiration for this poem?
My inspiration was the idea that we teem with metal, the iron in our arteries, the magnesium in our muscles, and yet metal can be what kills us, and what saves us.
This poem came from a case I worked on when doing clinical research before medical school. The experience was a swirl of emotion: the child, “Will the child live?” the bullet, “How could someone do this to this baby?” the silence, how can a hospital fall silent, the outcome, “Thank God he survived.” I will never forget this case; this was the first pediatric patient I had ever seen since I worked in an adult ER.
Why did you choose poetry? What interests you about it?
I love poetry because it allows you to break rules as soon as you make them.
How long have you been writing poetry? How did you get started?
I have been writing poetry all my life, but it intensified when I began working in clinical trauma surgery research and needed a way to get the stories out of my head and onto paper where they could sleep for the night. Since then, I have deepened my practice of writing poetry and found much more of a voice.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your involvement in or views on arts in medicine?
I don't think you can tease medicine away from the arts. As doctors, we are storytellers, we are story receivers, we are protagonists (and occasionally villains). If we ignore the stories, they pile up inside us and become a tangle of burnout and moral injury. If we let the stories out, if we let them become separate from us, they become places of reflection and even respite.
Maya J. Sorini, MS, is a first-year medical student in New Jersey 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. Maya’s poetry has appeared in Tendon Magazine, Tofu Ink, and as part of Resilience Dance Company St. Louis's multidisciplinary performance, "Stanzas and Sculptures."
Illustration by April Brust