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The Child in the Waiting Room and My Maybe-Someday Child

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 our members.


I sit in front of the child in the waiting room

Who is stuck here while his mother

Is examined and questioned

He has a temporary tattoo of

The Mars rover on his left hand

And allergic shiners that I let be

He is a shy child

Smiles halfway like it is a secret

When I show him how to take his pulse

Let him try my stethoscope

Guess correctly that he is in fourth grade

He takes the turtle sticker

And the landscape one that

I had remarked was beautiful

(I think to please me)

I imagine having my own 8-year-old

How each evening I would 

Curl up with him and a book

About space or engineering or

Turtles or the heart

And how if I spent my nights

With a child’s cheek resting

On my neck

More would be well with me

An Interview with the Poet

What was your inspiration? Did other creative works, if any, influence your creation of this piece? 

My inspiration was this little boy, so kind, so sweet. The piece references Billy Joel’s Rocket Man, “Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids, in fact it’s cold as hell, and there’s no one there to raise them if you did.”

How does this submission relate to your medical practice? 

As a young woman and medical student, I think often about how my career choices have impacts on my future family and fertility. I hope to one day have my own children, which unfortunately creates conflict as I pursue a career as a physician. Women are still forced to hide their desire for children or even that they already are mothers when applying for jobs, and this poem is an attempt to oppose this idea that clinicians are worse at their jobs if they choose to have children.

Maya J. Sorini is a narrative medicine scholar, performer, medical student, and award winning poet with a background in trauma surgery research. Her first collection, The Boneheap in the Lion's Den, won the 2023 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Maya 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 many arts and medical journals, including JAMA, Intima Magazine, Auxocardia, and Doximity's Op-Med. Maya currently attends Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and lives in Bergen County with her grandmother.

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

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