Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities


Eden Almasude
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States


I don’t remember your name,
Only fasciculating muscles
beginning to waste
Nerves with unknown lesions
A toe up, a reflex down
The neurologist quietly notes,
Bulbar involvement entails a poor prognosis
Meaning: if you can’t talk, you can’t breathe
Each new symptom foreboding
Slow, stepwise death
We turn to count,
mapping neurons
along the exam
We fixate to push away
the realization,
this kind, tattooed biker
is dying
American Spirits stick out
of jeans he struggles to raise;
If he weren’t my patient
I’d want to sip Scotch
and smoke one together
as we did 3 months later,
3 months before he died



EDEN ALMASUDE is a 4th year medical student and future psychiatrist. She began writing poetry during clerkships to express the complex, painful, and beautiful moments that words often struggle to capture.


Spring 2018   |  Sections  |  Poetry

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