Fratricide

Hemal N. Sampat

No bleeding this month.
It is how I announced myself.
A child arrived
And Mom and Dad were overjoyed.

Years pass.
One day, no more bleeding.
No more children to come.

Then, bleeding again.
It is how he announced himself.
A different child arrived
Born of Mom alone.

Tan-colored, like me
But unwelcome.

He grows where I grew:
In the endometrium.
He feeds off Mom

As I did
But unwelcome.

“Son?”
“Yes, Mom?”
“You know how women once a month…?”
“Bleed?”
“Yes.”
“Mom, have you bled?”
“Yes.”

I entrust Mom to one like me,
A doctor.
With gentle ease and a gentle smile
He tells Mom it will be okay.
No more problem child.

He cuts you out, my brother
2.5 by 2.4 by 1.7 centimeters
He kills you.

Cancer, my brother
This is what I do
I kill you.


HEMAL N. SAMPAT, M.D., is a fourth-year resident in the combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics residency at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in theology from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and then earned his M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His scholarly interests are in quality improvement, medical ethics, medical education, and simulation. A native of Maryland, Dr. Sampat is an avid film buff and enjoys travel, hiking, jogging, reading, writing, and watching football.