Picture of Lorenzo MadrazoLorenzo Madrazo is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Ottawa




Grade 3 out of 6 systolic—
A harsh tone
I listened to carefully.
Yet I failed to hear
the wearied decrescendo of your sighs;
the pain colouring your voice.

Hemorrhages observed—
telling me about
the medications you didn’t take.
Yet I was blind
to your deeper sickness:
the poverty that eluded me.

Words—the medicine I use
to help you cope,
to help you heal.
Yet when it was my turn
to sit in your chair,
silence replaced my speech.

A clinical diagnosis
prompting me to imagine
the gaps in your brain.
Yet my mind did not consider
the fullness
remaining in between.

Heart Failure.
Reduced ejection fraction:
the walls of the heart
struggling to contract.
And when I said,
“You have a few months left,”
it was my heart that failed to move.