I fear that this fury will burn itself out
That this righteous rage will be too easily quelled
I fear that this wound will scab and scar
And in the parts where there was once fire, a callous will form
A bitterness
A numbness
An acceptance
Will all this grief and fraught labor give birth to nothing?
After all, one must grow weary of this constant emotion
The buzzing in the head
The tightness in the soul

Maybe it is easier to feel nothing
To withdraw hands outstretched to the world
And to sleep inside oneself instead
To be aware of the slap, of the knot twisting in the belly
But still refuse to cry out
To endure, endure, and endure more
Suffer now, later, forever
Without making a sound

I pace the bridge between this Long Hot Summer and its ash
And I feel myself already flagging
Already growing weak in the knees
Burnt by the flames but also fearing their end

It is all to say I’ve a fear of myself
Blowing, with each breath
New life on the embers
Or putting them out



Advocacy, Medical Education, Medical Ethics, SGIM, Social Justice, Wellness

Author Descriptions

Ms. Iluore (ciluore@gmail.com) is a second-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

The following poem was one of the top three Arts and Humanities submissions presented at the plenary session of the 2021 Mid-Atlantic SGIM Annual Meeting.