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Amulya Iyer ~

The professors,
they teach us
the types of diuretics,
their effects on the tubules–
convoluted or not.
They tell us to check
for pitting edema,
and grade it to see
how bad it has gotten.

But who teaches
the student
to kneel by the woman,
her legs swollen,
her heart failing in her chest–
to slip off old shoes,
roll down damp socks,
and touch her feet
as if asking
to be blessed?

About the poet:

Amulya Iyer is a family-medicine intern at UC San Francisco (UCSF) at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. He graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he had the opportunity to do his primary-care rotation through Bassett Healthcare Network in the village of Cobleskill, NY. “My love of writing and poetry comes from my father, who is a poet.”

About the poem:

“This poem is inspired by a patient I met while working at a clinic in Cobleskill; she reminded me of my grandmother. It is also inspired by Dr. Alan Kozak, a mentor who encourages all of his students to reflect deeply on the emotions of medicine.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer