The Hallway

Colleen Fogarty

Sitting here, waiting to teach a medical student.

My eyes lock
onto the windowed display cabinet of anatomic pathology specimens.

Aging bottles of shriveled dun-colored parts, pale reminders of bodies once vital.

My thoughts drift
my rib pain, localized, continuous, nagging.
my breast cancer, localized, excised, treated…just over a year ago.

What pains my rib?

Mets?
Muscles?

These tumor specimens cut too close.

I got my daughter to kindergarten; what about sixth grade?

About the poet:

Colleen Fogarty, an associate professor in the University of Rochester Department of Family Medicine, has dabbled in poetry and prose most of her life. Medical school temporarily killed her creative muse. In the years since residency, she has published creative work in Health AffairsThe Journal of Family PracticeFamily Medicine and Medical Humanities. She practices and teaches writing fifty-five-word stories with colleagues and residents and edits the “55-Word Stories” column for Families, Systems, and Health.

About the poem:

“This poem is about an experience during a teaching session that brought me, momentarily, in touch with my own mortality.”

Poetry editors:

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro

About the Poem

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Poems

Popular Tags
addiction alcohol addiction allergies anatomy lab bedside manner bigotry breast cancer cancer caregiver stories caregiving chemotherapy child abuse childbirth children chronic illness complementary therapies connecting with patients coping with death coping with illness coping with patient death cross-cultural health care cultural competence death and dying death of a parent dementia depression diabetes disability doctor-patient communication doctor-patient relationship doctor as patient doctor poems doctor stories drug addiction end of life end of life decision making faith family medicine forgiveness frustration with healthcare system genetic disorders geriatrics getting the news healing health care policy health care politics health insurance HIV humor ill parent immigration inequality international health labor and delivery leukemia medical errors medical student stories medical training medicine memorable patients mental health mental health professional stories mental illness military medicine miracles miscarriage mistakes neuroscience nurse poems nurse stories ob/gyn palliative care parent stories Parkinson's disease patient-centered care patient poems patient stories pediatrics personal remembrance physician assistant stories poem poems/poetry pregnancy PTSD race realizing human mortality resident stories role modeling self care social determinants of health social issues social worker stories spirituality stress and burnout suicide surgery thanksgiving the bad doctor visuals war veteran
Scroll to Top