“You might not be
Leaving the hospital,”
The attending doctor says.
There are many eyes.
More pairs of eyes than I am comfortable with.
Residents. Three? Four? Five? I have lost count.
I am one of those pairs
Our eyes bear down on
The receiver of the doctor’s words,
Sitting snugly in the chair that is too big for her.
That swallows her petite frame whole.
Just only the other day
She was able to leave her bed,
“…might not be
Leaving the hospital.”
The attending does not add the words
Nor does he say what
We all know he is implying
But is unable to say outside of Rounds
Out of her earshot.
What the attending doctor says
But what he does not say
Even more so.
She is dying,
This frail lady with her powerful, strong gaze
In the ICU of the hospital.
She smiles and nods,
Ruminates and digests the words the doctor has said
And the words that he will not say.
She smiles and nods.
I want to make myself as small as
From that space that should be only hers
In this moment.
“Thank you,” she says.
As we leave her bedside,
A troop, a gaggle, a parade of
I think to myself
This frail lady who sits snugly in the chair that is too big for her
That swallows her petite frame whole
She is strong,
Alice Huang is a first-year medical student (MD’22) who likes her stories and poetry spiced, marinated, and tender.