Article Image

The Baltimore Orioles

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

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.

"The Baltimore Orioles"

on your baseball cap
reminded me of home
so cleverly it hid your
star shaped scar looping
around your left ear
every three months
you came with your
wife who grew more
pregnant every time
there are decisions
not mine for the making
when you move to be
close to your parents
back to Maryland
I send you best wishes
connect you with
trusted colleagues
hope for the best
in turn you send me
pictures of your son
tiny and adorable
all smiles and dimples
matching yours
and a postcard
at the stadium
telling me that
you have decided
to tell your wife that
you will undergo more
you send me
your same cap
a reminder that
home is something
you can leave
return to and even
build and create

What was your inspiration?

My inspiration for this poem is from my time both in the neurology wards and oncology clinic. Through interacting with a variety of patients and hearing threads of their stories, I was able to weave it into a poem that aims to encapsulate providing humanistic care in times of vulnerability. 

How long have you been writing poetry? What got you started? 

Writing poetry is something I have done for a long time, and the deeper I delve into medicine the more my poetry is centered around patients, clinic, and the hospital. This creative process is so vital to how I better connect with patients and provide holistic care. They constantly inspire me in my writing and inspire me to enhance the care I provide. 

Why did you choose poetry? What interests you about it? 

I choose poetry as the medium because I think the form reflects the nature of the conversations. Specifically, there is a smooth flow of ideas while pauses are meant to highlight the uncertainty. Yet, the form in itself is very structured. 

How does this submission relate to your medical practice? 

One patient I drew great inspiration from discussed how hard it was for him to have to undergo cancer treatment while having his wife also be in and out of the hospital since she was pregnant. He expressed that he was worried about being a good father but also being able to even make it to see his child grow up. He also shared that his wife and child really kept him motivated to continue treatment and made his days brighter. While discussing diagnosis and prognosis can often times be challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding to witness the trust patients and families place in the hands of health care providers.

Ellen Zhang is a Harvard medical student. She writes as a way to unravel the complexities of medicine. She has been awarded the International Hippocrates Prize, Williams Carlos Williams Poetry Second Prize and Honorable Mention, and recognized as a Stephen A. Dibase Finalist. Her work can be found in JAMA, Hektoen International, and Pulse, among others.

Image by April Brust / Julia August / Gettyimages

All opinions published on Op-Med are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of Doximity or its editors. Op-Med is a safe space for free expression and diverse perspectives. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email

More from Op-Med