Art & Poetry in Medicine, Clinical, Psychiatry
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Unseen Song

The following manuscript was submitted to the February 2017 Social Medicine Themed Writing Contest.

The below poem was written during a weekend away in Indianapolis. I watched an apparently homeless older gentleman sitting outside a coffee shop for several minutes while I read. It was a generous reminder that our patients should be seen in their environment and not only in our own, with fluorescent lights and temperature control. We all have different backgrounds and life circumstances and drastically effect our behaviors and choices.


I watch you watch them
Red hat and camp jacket
Rocking just a bit as your
Lips move — are you singing?
Can’t tell through the glass.
They seem comfortable with you
Hopping closer as they peck
Unseen crumbles from the brick.
People, too, stop to talk
As if they know you.
Someone gives you neosporin for
A sore seen on your leg.
I hope it heals.
And I hope you always have music
Playing in your mind.

Sarah Slocum, MD Sarah Slocum, MD (2 Posts)

Resident Physician Contributing Writer

Medical College of Wisconsin

I'm originally a Mountaineer from the hills of West Virginia. I love football, animals, reading, running, and exploring with my husband and daughter.