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Editor's Commentary on 'The Death Note and the Soft Code'

 , May 08, 2015

There are a number of experiences in medical training that change us forever. Sometimes it feels like we can’t share these moments with anyone, that we can’t ever really communicate what it was that happened. In her poem, “The Death Note and the Soft Code,” however, Emily Pinto manages to share, with beauty and respect, a moment that will shape the lives of nearly everyone who becomes a doctor. She captures the brutality and the intimacy of CPR, both when it succeeds and it fails, and especially when we wonder whether our hands did more harm than good. On one level, Emily’s poem is her art, but on another, it is also a kind of bearing witness that each of us who has been in her shoes feels with intensity when we read her words. At its core, this poem gets at the best of what’s possible by writing the strange (wonderful, and terrible) work we do, as it “is for our healing, as much as for theirs, that we write.”

Benji Perin