The Calling

The call to be consistent
in an inconsistent world
is resounding, compounding,
deafening for some–

leaving faint, the echoes
of claws on casket, legacies
long gone, reminding we’ve only
recycled the struggles for show.

In medicine, we keep going
when everything else stops–
until the day we don’t. Some
will live another day;

others will take to the clawing
until someone hears their calling.

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

“When everything else stops, we keep going,” she began. This woman had always wanted to be a physician, and as a medical school student, was about to become the seventh generation of physicians on her mother’s side of the family. Her paternal grandmother never had a chance to go to medical school, but even so she found a way to contribute behind the scenes in the medical field. “I’m not sure why she’s been on my mind so much lately, but she has,” she said. She shared that she had lost a close friend this week who was the same age as her, which reminded her that life does just stop sometimes. This had caused her to contemplate the pressures of medical school and the medical profession–especially the unwieldy expectations on women in the field now. “Sure, I can be a surgeon and a mom, run three clubs, be head of a board, and start my own research lab. But just because I can do these things doesn’t mean I want to do these things. Parts of my life have to be sacrificed, even now as a med student. All of this comes at a cost,” she said.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Medical Student
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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