After the First Day of Orientation

Basement, room 2125
They learn to coach
…..to be humbled
…..to become their best selves
…..to see values manifest in composition


When good outcomes pour slowly
(or not at all)
Good music fills their cups instead


She dances and he learns the hand gestures
Telling stories of love
…..of sorrow
…..of suffering
…..of separation


Disparate scales harmonize
(though a mix of opposites)
Good outcomes overflow and heal

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

A third-year medical student met her current partner on the first day of Orientation. They spent two years studying together in the “MD lab”—a windowless basement room (Room 2125)—and she said without his support she could not have gotten through anatomy lab, medical school studies, being far from family, and third year clerkship rotations. She observed that in many ways the two were very different from each other. For example, she longed to be a physician who would experience “good outcomes” from her patients, but in her third-year rotations she saw a lot of outcomes that were anything but good. Her partner had a different outlook, sharing that part of their role as physicians would be to become more like coaches in assisting their patients rather than saviors who would save them. In other ways, the two were very similar—especially in their mutual love of music. They both came from classical music backgrounds: he played classical guitar and she performed traditional Indian dance. She described the music they shared as a way they heal themselves.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Medical Student
Listener Poet: Yvette Perry

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