The portrait

Noren Khamis is a Family Medicine Resident (R1) at the University of Toronto

 

 

 

Early morning: the student comes by in a daze
Disoriented in the hospital maze
He’s frantic and sweating, the hallways all crossed
But one look at me and he’s no longer lost

The happy father and toddler walk by
One look at me, and yikes, what a cry!
Dad lifts his daughter up from the ground
And smiles in relief when she calms down

The new widow approaches, drowning in grief
Looks at me slowly; I see her relief
“We are both alone,” she silently ponders
And with her tears lifting, onwards she wanders

Promptly, the tour guide enters the scene
With a group of patients and visitors so keen
Again, today, she incorrectly explains
My name, my origin, the source of my fame

The janitor drags by, bleary and lean
Dusts me slowly until I shine clean
His routine never changes, an unending bore
To him I am nothing but one more chore

By my side, groups of nurses gather
Thinking they are alone, on they blather
Gossip and giggle, sharing triumph and sorrow
But I’ll keep their secrets: today and tomorrow

Now, in turn, the doctor arrives
He forges ahead with his long strides
No smile, no nod, not even a wave
His is the attention I truly crave

Can it be? My painter is here!
But his eyes pass me over, filled with fear
Dementia has claimed his skilled hands and mind
Now he rots in his chair—yes, life is unkind.

I must pause to consider all that I’ve seen
Lives lived, lives claimed, what could have been
Here I stand, forever the same
The painted woman behind the frame

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