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Editor's Comments for 'Chemo Cocktail'

 , July 10, 2015

There are many diseases for which the hospital becomes like a home, and inpatient care becomes – at least for a time – a patient’s life. In her poem “Chemo Cocktail”, Maggie Culpit, a first year medical student at Mayo Medical School, takes on the patient’s voice to render a blurring of borders between home and hospital for a cancer patient.  There is a certain fearlessness with which the poem portrays escaping despair with drink, that sadly familiar story we come to know well as trainees and physicians. The blending of imagery – poisons from home, glamorized; poisons prescribed, medicalized – stirs a conflict of feelings in the reader. We sympathize with this wish to imagine an escape, and both pity and understand all too well that even this metaphorical escape may be trading one disease for another.

Benji Perin