Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

I’m listening

Tulsi Patel
Chicago, Illinois, United States

Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Pexels

To the gentle whispers of the summer breeze,
The carpenter ants’ chatter in the trees,
A firefly’s luminous flash in the night,
A saguaro’s water, still and quiet.
The ocean’s froth, a fierce collision.
Then, hoarse vocal cords, a trach’d admission,
Eyes’ wells fill, glistening and bright,
LVADs’ hum, a steady pump’s right.

I listen close till his last gasping agonal breath,
His body warm, in the grasp of death,
Though painful it is, I won’t turn away,
For tenderness’s call, I’m here to stay.

I peel my ears like snakeskin shed,
To hear anew, compassion’s thread
To children’s endless giggles, joy profound,
In every sound, life’s essence found.
Into the legacy of care we leep,
In every moment, hearts run deep.

TULSI PATEL is a medical student in the MD/MPH program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Patel graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Neuroscience & Behavior in 2019.

Summer 2023



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