A Medical Education

By Glenn Colquhoun

for Dr Peter Rothwell

In obstetrics I learnt that a woman opens swiftly like an elevator door.
The body wriggles free like people leaving an office on a wet afternoon.

In medicine I learnt that the body is the inside of a watch.
We hunch carefully over tables with blunt instruments.

In paediatrics I learnt that the body is a bird.
I leave small pieces of bread in fine trails.

In geriatrics I saw that the neck becomes the shape of an apple core.

In intensive care I discovered that the body is a number. `
The sick sweat like schoolboys studying maths before a test.

In orthopaedics I found that the body can be broken.
Bones make angles under skin as though they were part of a collapsed tent.

In anaesthetics I saw people hang on narrow stalks like ripe apples.

But in the delivery suite I learnt to swear.

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