He marked a copy of da Vinci’s sketch
To map his ailments: drew an arrow from
The eye to cataracts, the feet nerve pain.
The groin said hernia, the navel at
The center of it all colostomy.
He offers up this artifact to his
New doctor: fills the outline with a tale
Of his true flesh unique in variance
From all ideal cosmographies of man.
About the poet:
Tabor Flickinger is a primary-care physician who also enjoys creative writing and believes that these two disciplines are complementary methods to pursue a deeper understanding of humanity. Her work has appeared in Pulse, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Hospital Drive and Abaton.
About the poem:
“This poem was inspired by a patient whose artistic representation of himself and his medical history gave a truer picture of who he was than the generic language of his electronic records.”
Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer