They shared a language
Created and known only amongst each other,
Used to give one another a taste of health in times of worry
The tongue they spoke best
His vowels roll off the curves of her being;
Her hushed whispers blanketing his habitus;
Their affirmations undulating in a beat;
For they knew to read every letter between the lines
Even after fouling their vocabulary
With colloquial dialects
They never forgot their tongue
Even if they never speak it anymore
The purpose of this poem is understanding other people. It relates to my other poems: “Learning,” “Again” and “To Laugh.” Showing empathy is not a rote decision. It is not black and white for every person. People feel differently, and using one method on everyone causes things to be lost in translation. Each person feels and emotes in their own language. We, as prospective physicians, have to tap into that dialect to first understand that person and then to speak it back so that our intention to treat and heal can be understood.
Image credit: Custom artwork by the author for this Mosaic in Medicine piece.