Cytokine Storm – Karishma Gupta

“I’m seeing two,” she said

so you look into her eyes

for sunny halos, cotton clouds, fog

for hidden scars and roadblocks

for dark nights and grotesque shadows.


“I’m sorry you’re feeling blue”

I suspect diabetes causing these visual losses to accrue

disease is a cytokine storm that lets in

torrential downpours, bone bending winds,

and cascading metabolic waves that flood basements.


Standing in the storm’s eye was she

with nothing left to say, but –

“I don’t require you” to sight

that cannot recognize regret, and

salvage what is left of her cribriform hope.


About this poem: I wrote this poem as a reflection of the experience I had after one of my first solo patient interviews as a second year medical student. After presenting the information to my clinical preceptor, we went back to discuss diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy with our patient.

Bio: Karishma Gupta is a member of the Class of 2017 at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

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