Sutherland Springs

Simin G. Roward ~

What I remember most about that day
is the silence in your eyes
when they rushed you in and how you
only started crying
when the nurse tried to put in an IV
as if the holes made in your body by the
bullets of an automatic rifle
aimed at you at church
and the memory of your mother
dying in the pew
were a pain of a different level
that your beautiful five-year-old heart couldn’t contain
and it took the poke of a small needle for you to
begin to feel human again
and I’m sorry. I’m so sorry we couldn’t save you all

About the poet:

Simin G. Roward is a general-surgery resident at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Seton Medical Center. She attended the University of Arizona College of Medicine, where she took advantage of the curriculum’s many creative-writing opportunities and contributed to the school’s literary magazine.

About the poem:

“This poem is based on my experience as a surgery intern working in the trauma pit when the pediatric victims of the Sutherland Springs shooting were brought to University Hospital in San Antonio. Despite the extremely well coordinated efforts of the faculty and staff, the care of pediatric trauma patients is very challenging, and each patient left a lasting impression on me.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

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8 thoughts on “Sutherland Springs”

  1. Dr. Roward, it’s been two hours since I first read your poem. I keep coming back to those 105 soul-gripping words that portrayed a scene no one should have to see. (I was once again overcome with gratitude for the physicians, nurses, and first responders who are there day in and day out.)

    Then questions came… Sutherland Heights? When was that shooting? Where? How many died? I was dismayed I didn’t remember, especially because it’s not even been a year. There have been so many; too many.

    PS Earlier today I reread Dr. Marjorie Stiegler’s 2015 JAMA essay “What I Learned About Adverse Effects from Captain Sully: It’s Not What You Think.” ( I was reminded that the number of victims from all these horrific events must be in the hundreds of thousands at least…if you include families, friends, co-workers etc of those killed and wounded…AND those who care for them.

  2. I have rarely been so moved by a poem as I am by this. Your language is clear, sharp and compassionate. Ah, what a sad scene. Beautifully written.

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