David Kopacz, MD
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  Poetry


I stare out


January 27, 1992
Originally published in Body Electric, Journal of the Medical Humanities, Volume IX | 1993
Reprinted with permission in Hippocrates: Health and Medicine for Physicians | 1993
Reprinted with permission in “Songs of Innocence and Experience: Student's Poems about Their Medical Education,” Poirier, S, Ahrens, W, and Brauner, D, Academic Medicine | 1998
Reprinted with permission in Body Electric, Journal of the Medical Humanities, Volume XV, University of Illinois Chicago | 1999
Reprinted with permission in Body Electric, Journal of the Medical Humanities, Twentieth Anniversary issue | 2005
Reprinted with permission in The Inner World of Medical Students: Listening to Their Voices in Poetry, by Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D., Radcliffe Publishing | 2009
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I stare out across the frozen lake
the water blends into the sky
the ice stretches out
the cars go by on Lake Shore Drive
the belly of the pregnant woman
stretches up toward the sky
the mustache of the resident
hides his upper lip
as he watches T.V. while the ultrasound
slides over the belly of the pregnant woman
the dimensions of new life flash on the screen
as he reads them aloud
I memorize
But I don't care
I see the lake and the sky
there is no difference to me
I see a truck pulling a house on the road
and the lake and the sky and the ice
stretch on around
until I feel sad and imprisoned
because my life is not my own
because I am not sure what is left of me
as I think this
I boil with hate
at the forces shackling me
at myself
at the mustachioed resident
a personal hate for the mustachioed resident
who blew his top
when I didn't know on my first call
who threw the book at me
I look at the clock, 4:30 AM
“Then read the chapter on it,” he says
I look at the clock, 4:40 AM
“You must really be dazed out,
you're still on the first page,” he says
I personally hate the mustachioed resident
particularly his mustache
it hides his upper lip
and I boil with hate
and I'm just tired, man
and I feel deflated with pain
for everything that binds every being
for the constrictions and dissatisfactions of life
I look out across the sleeping city
I am mostly awake
I can more than imagine the pain of life
the woman with the belly breathes and cries
new life born with a pungent mess
the baby breathes and cries
I breathe and remain silent.

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