When I was a medical student,
I was like a tadpole.
I swam around with little idea
about how the pond worked.
I looked at frogs, wondering
how they grew legs and learned to hop,
how they commanded the pond with a ribbet,
how they breathed outside of the water.
How I longed to be a frog one day.

One day I sprouted legs.
It was in my DNA, I suppose.
I showed them to all my tadpole friends
And we studied them in hopes
that it would help our patients someday.
We memorized the bones and muscles;
we took arduous tests about this.
I still didn’t know how to use my legs.
How I longed to be a frog one day.

One day my tail started to shrink.
I started feeling short of breath.
I was convinced I had heart failure,
still I pressed on in my training.
My teachers started putting me out of water,
and it almost felt like I could breathe better.
I felt my knowledge coalescing, my limbs advancing,
longing to spend more time on land.
And one day, I became a frog.

It felt so good to do frog things.
How I hopped from stone to stone,
how I started catching flies with my tongue.
I was so proud.
I remember my first ribbet, so strong and powerful.
And then a frog came to me.
He could no longer walk or eat.
He asked if there was anything I could do.
How I longed to be a tadpole.

I became despondent.
Frogs that couldn’t ribbet,
tadpoles that couldn’t swim.
The pond had so many problems.
One day I hopped near a French chef.
He promised he would fix me.
He took me back and put me in water.
It felt so good to swim again,
I never noticed the water boil.

Ben Drum, MD/PhD is a PGY-3 in the Internal Medicine & Pediatrics program at the University of Utah. He is originally from Oregon and trained at the University of Washington.

Rubor Participation:
2021 Poem, "Wizard"
2021 Poem, "The benefit of the doubt"
2020 Poem, "Med-amorphosis"
2020 Poem, "Gallbladder Pain"
2019 Poem, "Hospital Tourism"

Voices from the Residents:
2020 Co-editor
2020 Prose, "Running His Mouth"