Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

New York Lungs

Slavena Salve Nissan
New York City, NY, USA


Fernando Vicente

do i have new york lungs like you?
the same bits of black in my upper lobes?
i sure hope i do
i want my beloved city
to leave its mark in me
the way it did in you
after that first time that we cut into you
(how strange it is to say that)
i get on the 6 on 96th
(did we ever sit on the same train together?)
a young woman comes on
her back facing me
i almost collapse
i know what she looks like
underneath her skin fascia fat
the trapezius twins like clipped wings
and then
it’s 59th and Lex
and i get off to transfer to the Q
and because i’m a bit of a romantic
(ok—a lot of a romantic)
i think about the people that loved you
children friends partners
decades of them
embedded in your mediastinum meninges muscles
(the train rolls in
i’m wiping away tears)
even those who loved you probably didn’t know
that you look like a frida kahlo painting on the inside
bursting with color even in this suspended death


thank you
for allowing me to know you
in this strange intimate way
new york body to new york body
(i’m home in brooklyn
and you’re with me)



SLAVENA SALVE NISSAN is an aspiring physician-writer and medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She’s a contributor for the AAMC’s Aspiring Docs Diaries, a medical student editor for in-Training, and the student leader of Sinai Arts. You can find her poetry and photography @slavenareina on Instagram.


Spring 2017  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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