The Savior

I once saved an innocent child from drowning

He grew up to be a tyrant

In the pursuit of perfection, he drowned his entire nation

Then he drowned the whole world

In the end, he drowned himself and died anyway


I once saved a woman from dying

She had decided to face death with grace

Unable to let go, I brought her back to life

Months later her body was found floating in a cold river

There was evidence of great suffering before she had succumbed


I stopped and asked

Do we really save someone when we save their life

Do we really save them or are we saving ourselves

What drives us to save lives

Is it a mere instinct

Or just an obsession rooted deeply in our own past

Or something noble ensuring a place for us in the company of Saints


As I save another woman, I, silently ask for her forgiveness

Because I do not know what evil awaits her when she leaves my sanctuary

As I am declared a hero for saving another child, I quietly say a prayer

For his victims

For his nation

For the world

Awais Riaz, M.D., Ph.D. is an epileptologist who has been with the University of Utah Department of Neurology since 2004. He claims that the best part of his job is being a small group facilitator for the “Layers of Medicine” course for first- and second-year medical students. When not engaged in clinical work, he enjoys reading, writing and taking pictures.

Rubor Participation:
2020 Photograph, "Pod of Dolphins"
2020 Photograph, "Under the Tail of a Whale", web edition
2019 Poem, "Nirvana"
2013 Poem, "The Savior"
2013 Poem, "Conversation with a Cadaver in the Dissection Hall"