Stefano Byer, M1, Class of 2022

Between my fingers and my desk

The computer in classroom rests

Snug as a phone in pocket

Outside my classroom a cacophonous sound

Healers and sick each dressed in their gown

My attending listening, I look down

Clinic’s door clinks

Two gowned men – separated by one stethoscope

Listening to each other

Disease and knowledge, aged 20 years or more

Meeting today – with minutes to implore

My attending spends his day listening,

more than any other that walks through the hospital door

Once I carried him a coffee, the lid kinked askew

He stepped to his office, drank briskly and gulped with a few

Then fell right to listening and

Listening patiently

Heaving differentials over his shoulders

Rattle tap click, EMR

The sterile squelch and slap of sanitizer

Out extended, wrapped by my unwrinkled thumb

Christened by neophyte sweat

I, listening for heartbeat but

unsure of which one

Stooped by the ill

of more knowledge than the books

So, for now, I have no ears to follow them

Between my fingers and my desk

My computer in classroom rests

I’ll listen with it, for now



Based on the poem “Digging” by Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1995

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