Life’s Little Game

Her hair was red, eyes bluer than mine

But I was still here, though she’d run out of time

She and I both bore the same first name

But I’d won while she’d lost in life’s little game

She had stopped breathing. Her skin was too cold.

I’d say it’s her time , but she wasn’t that old

Her face wasn’t wrinkled, and her voice was still strong

To be cut down so soon seemed altogether wrong

But that is life’s game, with rules so unclear

That the unpredictability itself fills good hearts with fear

And, though I might tremble, my trepidation’s in vain

Because no one can play forever in life’s little game



i love to write the words they

fly right off the page and into my

eyes and they fill my brain then they

fill my heart and my heart beats

too fast and my eyes start to smart.

oh do you love words as much as i

do words never lie but they’re never

quite true there are some things

that words can’t convey but

when words make me cry i’m

the only one to blame.


love they tell me love i laugh love

is a legend from a long-lost past love

came once so freely but we love no

more because love leaves you broken

bleeding out on the floor love came to

my door once one cool summer’s eve but

something was wrong why’d his clothes

smell so sweet it didn’t make sense and

i knew something was wrong and

that’s how i lost love and now it’s all gone.

Bushy-Tailed Dreamers

All these bushy-tailed dreamers

With stars in their eyes

Chasing wishes and hope

But Luck passes them by.

They leap as she passes

But to no avail!

For Luck pays them no heed

And they stumble, and fail.

dream catcher  

rainbow yarn with the feathered tail i’ll

tell you secrets if you won’t fail me just

catch the nightmares as they creep and

let me rest at night let me sleep for

every night again and again i

see the demons there’s just no end and

i can’t help but cry at nights because

i’m so scared and there’s no light but

might your colours bring me hope i

think that you could help me cope just

leave your colours hanging there and i’ll

close my eyes after evening prayers and

then you’ll catch the demon breath that

invades my mind and interrupts my rest and

i’ll be indebted to your forever, dear, my

one dream catcher

please catch my fears

Heartbreak Express  

The fog was so thick that no one could see

And, when the train left, it left without me

I tried to catch up, but the wheels were too fast

And, when I lost sight, I gave up at last

I sat on the tracks, tried catching my breath

I was lost and alone, but I needed to rest

I needed a plan to run far away

I needed to leave, but where could I stay?

I couldn’t stay here, no, that much was clear

Every brick, every step filled me with fear

Yet just as I reached my poor wits’ end

I heard a train whistle, like a long-lost friend

I stood up and waved, and it screeched to a stop

The side door swung open with a hiss and a pop

The letters on the side were bright red and gold,

The HEARTBREAK EXPRESS was a sight to behold

It was glistening silver, as if shining with tears

Its lanterns shone brightly, dispelling my fears

I lifted my feet and entered the car

Took a seat just as the engines started

And it was easy, just like that, to start flying away

From my past, from regret, I was now on my way

And everything somehow seemed so fresh and new

There was so much to see, to plan, learn, and to do

We passed over rivers, through deserts, through fields

We crossed the Earth twice over on those clack-clacking wheels

We even flew past Mars and Saturn, with its luminescent rings

But we reached the station far too soon, as often happens with these things

Yet my eyes were dry as I realised that this wacky trip had ended

We landed back on Earth, the doors opened, and I descended

But, when I looked back suddenly to thank it for its time

The grand HEARTBREAK EXPRESS had vanished out of sight

double-time march

the people gather all around to

see this thing that i’ve become but

i don’t know i muddle through

i don’t know what i’m supposed to

do why am i here what does this mean

it’s all so crazy and i’m like a

machine and i go and go it never

ends no stop stop please i can’t go

on it’s like a tape a record machine but

the music keeps going after the song ends.


it’s too much too much too fast too soon

a double-time march, fast-forward the scene

i wake i run i run i sleep i run in my dreams

i’m hungry, but no time to eat

everything is crazy madness

so fast it’s a blur

whirling twirling swirling twists

a crazy cycle stuck on repeat

i’m so hungry right now

is there anything to eat?


And when I grew weary of all of the scars

I counted the scabbed bits littering my heart

And picked them off quickly,  so no one would see

All of the damage that they’d done to me

But it hurt when I pulled, and all the bits bled

It made my heart ache, and it stained my hands red

My heart grew misshapen, more so than before

And before I could blink I saw blood on the floor

And my heart couldn’t beat because it hurt so

And so it grew harder, the hardest heart I know

And that’s why I can’t love you the way you deserve

So walk away, darling, and think of me no more

Dance on Clouds

We had finished the OR list early that day, and I’d run to the university library to find some books. As I was walking towards the check-out desk, I tripped over my own feet (typical me), scattering the books everywhere. A boy nearby helped me collect what I now realised was an excessively large number of books, even for me. My cheeks were burning as I accepted the few he passed my way. Maybe next time I’d only take as many books as I could safely carry.


“Are you a medical student?” he asked me. The question was polite; I supposed it was obvious. The medical scrubs, the messy hair that had been in-and-out of caps all day, the ID badge hanging around my neck, the stethoscope in my pocket. Not to mention the first book in my stack was titled The Complete Review of Orthopaedics, Sixth Edition.


“Yes,” I said, suddenly feeling my energy drain. Why was I so tired? I’d only worked nine hours that day, and I hadn’t been on call last night. “Yes, I am.”


“Wow,” said the boy. “And you go to the regional campus? The McMaster one?”


“Yes,” I said. If I checked these three books out, I could probably cram them all into my bag, which meant that I could carry these two back to the car, which would leave my left hand free to grab the keys. Yes, that could work.


“Wow,” said the boy again. “That’s so cool.” He was looking at me with a mixed awe, respect, fear, and admiration that I reserved for my mother, Taylor Swift, and one particular surgeon who’d never shouted at me once during the four weeks I’d worked with her.

What a silly boy. I was just a medical student. He’d probably done more impressive things with his life than I had.


Thinking that our conversation was over, I continued walking to the circulation desk. But the boy followed me. “I want to go to med school,” he said. “I think I want to be a surgeon, maybe. Or a psychiatrist. Have you done any psychiatry? What’s it like?”


“It’s interesting,” I said, glancing at the clock. Five-fifteen. If I could get home before six, eat and change before six-thirty, maybe I could get a chapter or two in of reading before I fell asleep at my desk. Maybe.


“Wow,” said the boy. “I’ve never met a real med student before. This is so cool. It’s such an honour to meet you.” Why was he looking at me like that? I was just a medical student. Always in the way, never knowing enough. The bottom of the totem pole. Just today, three doctors had been arguing about who’d be stuck with me tomorrow. They ended up pulling straws. The unlucky winner had already warned me twice not to touch his drugs. Or his tools. Or his stool. Or the door.


“You must be so smart,” said the boy. “To get into a Canadian med school and all.”


“Mmmm…” I said, as I started to check out the books. Smart? Me? Last week alone, four separate people (three of them nurses) had called me stupid. The other was a John Doe I’d bumped into in the carpark after a fifteen-hour shift so exhausting I could barely stand.


“Can I shake your hand?” said the boy. “Please?”


“Shake my hand?” I said. What an odd request. “I guess…?”


“Oh, thanks! Oh, wow! Oh, you’re so nice! Oh, geez, I hope I get to be a med student just like you one day.”


Just like me? Why would anyone want to do this? Was I ever like this rambling pre-med, so bushy-tailed and starry-eyed? I looked at the books in front of me, remembering the first time I’d seen someone with scrubs and a coloured backpack walking around the library. I’d hidden behind the bookshelves and watched, my mouth hanging open. When we were undergrads, the medical students were our idols. They were gods.  I’d never have dared to speak to a medical student before I became one. This boy had gumption to come over and speak to me. It must have been because I dropped my books; somehow, that had made me more approachable. More human.


But being a medical student was nothing to be proud of. We do nothing useful, as we’re often reminded. We’re just ripening crop, sitting tight until the day that we can add our contributions to the system which raised us. Yesterday, one of my classmates was in tears because the surgeon she was courting for a reference letter told her that she would be a terrible surgeon, or a terrible doctor, really, regardless of what she went into. This morning, a different classmate was told by three separate families not to touch their children because they wanted the ‘real’ doctor; later, the ‘real’ doctor reprimanded her for not acting more ‘confident’ and ‘inspiring trust’. These are not isolated incidents; they are our lives. Every week, at least one of us is ridiculed, bullied, or derided. There’s nothing to be done about it; it’s the nature of the system. Throw a group of untrained, unqualified children into one of the most stressful and high-stakes environments in the world, and you’re virtually guaranteed to form a strict and (frankly) tyrannical hierarchy. It’s a wonder there aren’t more tears than there are now. We’re useless in the face of the dying, the grieving, the suffering. We don’t belong in hospitals. We don’t belong anywhere.

Velvet Gown

A.N. Lost it a bit towards the end >.<

The people applaud as they gather around

The Devil is dancing in her dark velvet gown

She swirls and swishes, but she’s not what she seems

She’s the scum of the sewers, though she consorts with queens

She wears a tiara, but it shines in disgrace

Though her features are perfect, they’re repulsed by her face

But she sings in strange rhymes to catch people’s attention

And in listening they find her the perfect distraction

She fills up their hearts with cruel, shallow thoughts

And makes them her pawns when their affection is bought

But her words are bare

empty, though pretty they seem

When I add my own words in, I, too, cause a scene

Because the words that I write make hardened hearts cry

The words that I write ring with the sorrows of life

My words are far purer than any she sings

Though her words fall flat, mine echo when they ring