Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Poet’s statement: The poem is about my first experience with cadavers in the anatomy lab at medical school.
The first cut
My first patient was an 88-year-old female
I was told I had consent to look.
Four of us huddled around her
We made a long incision down her front
In the abdomen, I cut too deep
I could not see her face
Cutting violently through her body
I had the urge to name and to know
My job was to turn her inside out
I chose doctoring to prevent these scenes.
But I had no skills, no knowledge, and no chance.
Photography by the National Guard
LISA FRIEDMAN is a graduate of Carleton College with a degree in American studies. She is currently in her second year of medical school at Case Western Reserve University, where she is also pursuing a master’s degree in bioethics. Her essay, “The Application Essay I Never Wrote” was recently published in The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine and her poem “Surgery” was published in the journal Hospital Drive.