Visceral Reflection

Nervous energy fueled my heart.
My steel blade hovered above his back.
Is this normal?

Heart pounding faster, it was time to cut.
26 years of avoiding harm to others.
Now, we had to cut.

With effort, I began the long incision—
Slicing from neck to pelvis.
Is this normal?

Like all medical students, we were nervous.
But I had a secret. A secret I didn’t want.
I knew where the bodies came from.

Two years prior, he left our lives.
Two years of grieving had not ameliorated the pain.
Is this normal?

After a herculean battle with glioblastoma,
Dad left the world one last gift. A complicated,
Gift only given once.

Conflicting emotions of overwhelming gratitude
Clash with the visceral and unnatural feeling of that first cut.
Is this normal?

An irreplaceable resource for learning;
Yet, once, an irreplaceable vessel for life.
Is there anything more powerful?

Emotions ran high and inner conflict brewed.
Do my classmates understand the sacrifice?
Is this normal?

The sacrifice was made and it is clear:
We honor the donors through respect and learning.
This is normal.

MED '21

Sam is a student in the UUSOM Class of 2021. He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and attended Westminster College. He loves to spend time in the mountains. He plans to pursue a career in ophthalmology.

Rubor Participation:
2021 Poem, "Visceral Reflection"