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On Rounds » in

Oct 20, 2023

Because I could not stop for death,

He kindly asked I pause.

My arms were full of sterile wraps,

Scissors, tape, and gauze.

My team awaits, I gesture on;

They clot the narrow hall.

I have my labor, leisure none,

Yet I stop upon his call.

He turns to face room forty-two,

I question, "Why the haste?"

"It is her time," he answers low.

I beg of him, "Please wait."

I say, "We have not finished yet,

More labs and tests are pending.

More to offer, more to give,

Her care cannot be ending."

Death takes my hand in vile cold

Yet warmth conveys his voice:

"I have a task I must complete,

Her life is not your choice."

I try once more to beg for days,

For minutes, seconds more

To carry on our work of life.

Words land on stoic shores.

"It is her time," the calm reply.

A rush, release of pain.

And he is gone holding her soul,

Code blue a faint refrain.

Image Credit: "corridor" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by appropos

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.

Contributing WriterUniversity of Michigan Medical SchoolAnna is a member of the class of 2024 at the University of Michigan Medical School. She graduated from University of Michigan in 2019 with a degree in French Language and Literature. In her free time, Anna enjoys cooking, exploring nature, and taking care of her plants.