Category: Spoken Word Videos

physician's plea poem phoebe chi

A Physician’s Plea

A medical student. A simple question.

“How am I supposed to go on caring?”

At the time, suggestions abound.
Work-life balance. Self-care. Hobbies.
Remembering our initial calling.
Remembering we still make a difference.
Remembering our love for medicine
and the privilege we have as caregivers.

But then the realization-
I don’t know the answer.

I only know that I have witnessed around me-
at every stage of training and practice-
evidence of emotional exhaustion.
Dissatisfaction.
Disillusionment.

Burnout.

So this is my plea…

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Restored

Immortalized
within counterfeit fibers
of a petrified forest
are your sorrows
weighed with silt,
swallowed by shadows
of its own valley,
silenced beneath
the porcelain surface
of a visage pristine.

Banish them.
Let your tears cathartic
burn
these cheeks of mine.
Scour them with scars
of an ancient past
of an ache relived.
Let me bear the dusk
until from the womb,
emerged pure as
the morning dew,
is a love renewed.

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als waning poem phoebe chi

The Waning (ALS)

You already knew.
Gaze unflinching, 

you told us to say the words.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

A. L. S.

Despite sparse questions,
your eyes revealed
an understanding far deeper
than our answers-

that with one moment,
robbed were you

of the years ahead,
of memories awaiting,
of stories belonging to you.
Now lost.

Strength dissolving,
your conviction remains
unscathed.

You savor
each passing sunrise.

Each caress, each step.
For you know.
As your legs cease to support,
arms stop to comply,
you still feel
your child’s touch.

Absorbing her love.
Pretending
you don’t care the roles
have been reversed

as you yearn
to return her embrace.

As its hunger ascends,
You treasure
the remaining days.

Every word, every smile.
For you know.
Soon it
consumes your voice,

drains your visage,
until all that is left is
the silence
of a vacant mask.

Unable to reflect
your thought’s grin,

your heart’s laugh,
your soul tears
as you blink away the moisture.

As your breaths
increasingly betray you,

you are not defeated,
for the flames
of your bruised spirit
are not quenched,

and you give thanks
for the time you had,

even as your body dims
and you fade away.

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Embraced

His heart unveiled before me,
descended from fields above,
let him free me with eternal songs
and constrain me with his love.

Lilacs amidst the autumn green,
like lilies among the thorns,
let him hold me up in blossom tides
in whose haven I am reborn.

If come the dawn which want of rain,
the hours of trial and drouth,
let him kiss me now as he kissed me then–
nectared kisses of his mouth.

When moistened rivulets meander down
my cheeks onto my neck,
let him dry the tears and calm my soul
with words of sweet caress.

As cashmere skies dissolve in mist
to lower eve’s curtain from above,
let them come; I fear it not–
for I am sick with love.


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