A Carotid Endarterectomy Sonnet

Baila Elkin

Your neck, seen on the CT, shades of grey

laid open now, no longer black and white

the jugular a softly pulsing sight

each vessel tied, each nerve out of the way

We place the shunt, I’m suctioning the spray

of so-much blood and swallowing my fright

The lamps above now seem too harsh, too bright

reflecting glints of scalpels on the tray

I hear the rush, my own blood in my ears

but now at last the shunt is snugly in

the high-pitched doppler whoosh allays my fears

with blood-flow to the brain we can begin

to gently pry a plaque built up through years

and close the layers, artery to skin


Becoming a Doctor at the University of Minnesota Copyright © 2021 by Baila Elkin. All Rights Reserved.