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Connective Tissue

Art and Literature Journal at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio

1 2012 • Volume V


http://www.texashumanities.org/connective-tissue


Connective Tissue 2012 • Volume V

Layout & Cover Design Katie Reppa

Editor in Chief Amanda E. Lipsitt

Faculty Advisors Jerald Winakur, MD Lee Robinson, JD Craig M. Klugman, PhD

Promotions Editor Rachel Mehendale Humanities in Healthcare President Kristin Budde

Literature and Copy Editing Chief Editor Christopher J. Wisely

Junior Editor Whitley Aamodt Committee Members

Elena V. Wisely Daniel S. Barron Angela Kim David Wilson Stephanie Opusunju Amani Jambhekar

Michelle Moller Amy Yu Christine Cheng Kristin Budde Pooja Sarkar

Nilan Naik Chris Kim Priya Gandhi Chris Yan Anhtuan Nguyen Stephanie Acosta

Visual Arts and Photography Chief Editor Jason P. Rocha

Junior Editor Nilan Naik Committee Members

Patrick Cheng Grace Kim

Stephanie Lynch

Robby Robinett Shannon Williams


The faculty, staff, and students of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio are one body with one common mission - “We make lives better.� Yet we often seem individual, separated by different specialties. This journal aims to provide the fiber that binds us; to draw out and reunite all the artistic and literary minds of our community; to bring together all fields of health care and science with one Connective Tissue. We express our sincerest gratitude to those who constantly encourage us and provide the opportunities and inspiration that ultimately lead to the development of this journal. Thank you to those who came before us and began this saga, and to those who continue to support us and provide us with the means to keep Connective Tissue going year after year. Special thanks to the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics for making this journal possible; to Jerald Winakur and Lee Robinson for their inspiring ideas, moral support and financial contribution; to Susan Hunnicutt for her support and assistance in showcasing the journal for the UTHSCSA community; to Lori Otto for her design expertise and assistance with our posters; and to all of the authors and artists who provided the most important part of all. Thank you all for adding your life and passion into Connective Tissue! For more information, including past issues and details on how to submit your own original and unpublished work, please visit our web site: http://www.texashumanities.org/connective-tissue

**The works published in this journal were selected based on their artistic and literary merit and do not reflect the personal views of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics or the editorial staff.

Front Cover: Lester Rosebrock Waiting for the Doctor

Back Cover: Spencer Cope Untitled


Contents Joanne Wright Quiet as a Mouse ................................................................................................................ 1 Rorey Walsh The Abyss ............................................................................................................................. 2 Fouzia Khan, DO, MPH Cherry Apples ..................................................................................................................... 4 Patricia I. Wathen, MD Emails from the War .......................................................................................................... 5 Pon-Pon Yeh Winged ................................................................................................................................ 6 Pon-Pon Yeh Dhruva . ................................................................................................................................ 7 Jesus Sanchez Letters from the Great Beyond ...................................................................................... 10 Richard Rigby Untitled . ............................................................................................................................ 11 Lester Rosebrock Ethiopia Sunset - Art Category Honorable Mention ................................................ 12 Christine Cheng Funny But Not in a Bad Way ......................................................................................... 13 Weiran Wu, MD Dreams .............................................................................................................................. 14 Katie Reppa Blue-Eyed Siblings ........................................................................................................... 15 Emily Andry Neopolitan ........................................................................................................................ 16 Pon-Pon Yeh A Love Story in Four Acts ............................................................................................... 17 Andrew Fohn Curious Cow ..................................................................................................................... 19 David Baker Encounter, Lake Texoma - Art Category Winner ....................................................... 20 Susan Seale Jarvis, JD Third Thursday in March - Literature Category Honorable Mention ..................... 21 Shannon Williams Study Buddy ..................................................................................................................... 25 S(1) Number Me? - Literature Category Winner .............................................................. 26


Krithika Srinivasan Two Eyes Like Diamonds ................................................................................................. Pooja Sarkar My Sister’s Keeper, Santipur Village, India .................................................................. Chris Yan Brothers ............................................................................................................................. Stephanie Acosta Looking Up ....................................................................................................................... Na’Miéeu Qa The Processed Art ............................................................................................................ Ben White White Coat Inventory ..................................................................................................... Na’Miéeu Qa Maybe We’re All Just Puppets ...................................................................................... Jessica Hollingsworth Peace Comes from Within ............................................................................................. Matt Mullane The Doctor ........................................................................................................................ Ryan Sheridan Untitled . ............................................................................................................................ Pooja Sarkar Shradh - Literature Category Honorable Mention ................................................... Harold J. Burg Done Delions .................................................................................................................... Jason P. Rocha Call Me Dr. (and Nothing Less) ..................................................................................... Neelima Navuluri Schoolgirls ........................................................................................................................ Shannon Williams If I Could Knit My Heart a Sweater and Hemorrhage .............................................. Jessica Hollingsworth Off to Find an Adventure .............................................................................................. Ryan Sheridan Untitled . ............................................................................................................................ Asif Khan Final Curtain ..................................................................................................................... William Miller Copenhagen Canal - Art Category Honorable Mention .........................................

27 28 29 31 32 33 35 36 37 38 39 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48


Editor’s Section Nilan Naik, Visual Arts Junior Editor Fisherman and Boat in Zanzibar, Tanzania .................................................................. Christopher J. Wisely, Literature Chief Editor Friends in Troubled Times ............................................................................................... Whitley Aamodt, Literature Junior Editor Moonlight, Boca Chica, Dominican Republic .............................................................. Jason P. Rocha, Visual Arts Chief Editor Connective Tissue in a Blue Bottle ................................................................................. Amanda E. Lipsitt, Editor in Chief The Road Home ...............................................................................................................

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Joanne Wright Quiet as a Mouse

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Rorey Walsh

The Abyss I will never forget the morning I met Jason. His mother used cocaine throughout her pregnancy, leaving him with permanent physical and neurological damage. At five months old he weighed only seven and a half pounds, two pounds more than on the day he was born. Even to an untrained eye, the effects of his mother’s cocaine use were obvious: failure to thrive, bilateral radial dysplasia, bilateral clubbed feet, cleft lip and palate. Jason was already on his second foster family when he was brought to the ER for hematemesis and profound dehydration. Vomiting blood and unable to accept an IV, he was brought to the PICU for emergent rehydration therapy. As he lay there listlessly, I listened to the history being given by the foster mother. She had taken custody of Jason only two days before, after he was removed from the custody of another foster family. She was aware that he would not be easy to care for; that much was obvious just by looking at him. However, the foster mother had not been given any information about his birth history, previous hospitalizations, or recent health issues. As we asked her questions about Jason’s health history, she became more and more frustrated because she knew almost nothing about him. She recognized that our ability to care for Jason relied upon what she could tell us about him. Grasping at straws, she ran to retrieve his onesie from the car so we could be certain he had thrown up blood. She returned with the clothing in hand, apologetic that she was unable to do more for the baby. I wondered what his life had been like up to this point. How often was he held? When he cried, did anyone come to feed, change, or soothe him? Did anyone coo and talk to him like my mother had done with me? Did he feel a sense of love and attachment to anyone? As I looked at his sweet face, I noticed his skin was pale and thin, his lips were dry and cracking, his dark brown hair was quickly shedding onto the white blanket where he lay, and his eyes looked empty as they gazed off in the distance. I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness for what he had already endured and for what his future would hold. Even though I was not following Jason as my own patient, I visited him every day while he was in the PICU. I would talk to him warmly, softly stroking his arm or brushing the hair from his forehead with my fingertips, I held him when he cried. I did this because I desperately wanted him to feel loved, even if only for a moment. Jason’s world was never my world. I come from a background where pregnancies are planned, babies are loved, and children are at the center of their parents’ universe. The young parents I know agonize over seemingly trivial purchases—car seats, baby food, educational books and toys—fearful that the wrong choice either will bring devastating harm to their child or doom her to a life of mediocrity. When I met Jason, two worlds collided. My world, one of parents’ sometimes-obsessive but always unconditional love for a child, was rocked by the stark confrontation with a world of addiction, neglect, and 2


dysfunction. Meeting Jason was like visiting a place I had heard about but had never seen myself. I was aware that drug-addicted women traded sex for drugs, got pregnant, and kept using. I knew that the foster care system, if not outright broken, certainly does not work like it should. But I only knew these things in the abstract. Jason made it real. My third year of medical school, and especially my experience with Jason in the PICU, has caused me to reflect deeply on my choice to pursue a career in medicine. I wanted to become a doctor to help people, but I often wonder whether my effort has made any difference in the lives of my patients. I think about what more I can do to help them, but I’m so often at a loss. I know that there is so much about my patients that I cannot fix. I cannot find their fathers. I cannot make their mothers stop taking drugs. I cannot undo the permanent damage of drug and alcohol abuse. I cannot restore brain function or re-grow deformed limbs. I cannot make our dysfunctional foster system work. I cannot give them love. I cannot make everything all right. But I desperately want to. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.” The experienced doctors that I know develop a clinical distance from their patients, treating them without becoming too emotionally invested. I suppose that this might be the only way to cope with what seems like a losing battle against the forces of indifference, neglect, and cruelty. Perpetual outrage at the state of the world and the harm inflicted on children by adults does not make for a happy life. But I fear that if my anger at the way the world is fades into acceptance that this is how the world will always be, I will be depriving my patients of their humanity. I will always wonder what happened to Jason. I wonder what kind of home we have sent him to. Will he bounce around foster homes, as one foster parent after another decides that he’s too much to care for? I wonder if he will ever know love. Will anyone care about him even a fraction that my parents care about me? Will he ever celebrate a birthday? What will school be like for him? Will he even make it that long? I am afraid that for Jason and the many others like him that I have yet to meet, I know the answers. But I hope that I am wrong.

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Fouzia Khan, DO, MPH Cherry Apples

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Patricia I. Wathen, MD

E-mails From the War A helicopter above the house wakes me. Rotors beat the air. It is looking for a war. The oak leaves on our quiet street shudder in its wake. You send me e-mails from the war zone, a strange place where sandstorms turn the air opaque and wrap you in a welcome eye of solitude. You write about funny things, about your friend who was hit on the head by a windblown Porta-Potty and wondered if he’d get a Purple Heart. You do not write about mangled flesh, though one day a news crew caught your voice: “This is a terrible injury,” you said. “This arm will have to come off.” These words came out of the radio when I was driving; they ricocheted off the walls and windows. I had to let the window down to let them out. But you do not write about that, or the burned man in the hospital ship who may or may not be the enemy. Or the boy our son’s age who may or may not make it. “The food is good here,” you write. “I am busy.” Well, I am busy here too. I am standing in line at Walmart, staring at the rack near the checkout counter. There are magazines with weight loss tips and sumptuous photographs of cake. Magnetic yellow ribbons that say “Support our Troops” hang next to Silly Putty, which our son begs me to buy. At home he presses the putty onto the newspaper. He stretches and twists the words. But you and I, let’s not do that. Outside there are machines of war. Let us write to each other with words that are cool and firm, like eggs you can crack to find some yolk of truth. Something real.

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Pon-Pon Yeh Winged 6


Pon-Pon Yeh

Dhruva When your grandfather passed away, you said your grandmother fell for four days. Every day drowning more into some secret place inside herself that no one else could reach. It was a catalyst for all of her slightly idiosyncratic tendencies making her a full blown obsessive compulsive. The repetition gave her control over her actions, she could not control her pain. Life became an eternal cycle for her, a mystery that occurred over and over again at different speeds, forwards and backwards, with different characters, from different perspectives but always focused on one thing, the reason why. It reminded you of the awkward way your sister used to fall asleep on the school bus. Her head vertical to the ground would slowly fall towards a horizontal until at some predetermined angle, she would feel the falling, wake up for a split second, eyes wide but unseeing and jerk back to the vertical. You used to watch your sister’s head sleep-wake dance for hours, bemusedly, poking pencils in her mouth when it occasionally fell open. This summer, you watched your grandmother with an intense morbid helplessness as she jerked back and forth between dreaming life and listless sleep. When you told me the story, you were too composed, too careful. I knew you were close. She took care of you when you were little as your parents worked and studied, studied and worked. You loved tracing the calluses on her fingers that had come on from years of doing other people’s laundry. You were always awed by the unnatural way her toes curled due to years of wearing ill-fitting shoes. You slept in the same bed as she did, wrapped in the same blankets, listening to her softly snoring and sleep-talking in languages you couldn’t understand. --Your grandfather’s health had been weak but stable last winter. Cause for discomfort but not for concern. I had already met you at that point, but we had not run our fingers over each other’s scars yet and certainly had not exposed the bases of our insecurities, the tragedies of our families. But the signs were all there if I had been more perceptive. 1) One weekend you shook when you poured me a cocktail. It was a dormantly thrilling winter. Every time the wind blew, tiny shivers of excitement would roll through us all. You tore through the town with the rest of us, cigarette smoke trailing our brakeless bikes, in our worn peacoats and stovetop hats. We would crash into bars, position ourselves amongst the surprised denizens, inscribe our crazy ideals in tabletops, and then disappear just as suddenly into the dark, snowy night.

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That night you led me to a table and you sat down. Just you and me, ahead of the gang, you were drunk off of alcohol, me, what I thought was life. You shook when you poured me a cocktail, knocking the glass to the ground, suddenly in shards. We sat there for about three seconds, and I squirmed under the questions in your eyes that I neither wanted to nor could understand. Then, I slipped away to the others, secure in familiar impersonal pseudointellectual goings ons. And you slipped away into the night without saying goodbye. Earlier that day you had seen your grandmother and grandfather in the same room for the last time. They had lived together for 63 years, but had had a vicious disagreement which left them utterly unable to dwell under the same roof. Your grandfather, blind and unable to walk, moved in with your uncle. Your grandmother moved in with your mom. When you accompanied your grandmother to pick up some belongings, she muttered under her breath, the way your family does when they are upset. Yes, you do too. In the house, as you approached your bedridden grandfather, you were suddenly aware of the harsh claw of mortality. His lips were parched and he seemed blinder than he had been before. His hands making limp movements. His face more sunken. His limbs more shriveled. It was as if his entire perception had shrunk to the tiny area two inches above his face. You leaned in close and whispered your greetings, timidly. He whispered in reply, and you could sense your world blur as his voice connected you to his world. Your grandmother blew in and started talking, shrewdly, hurtfully, as angered lovers do. Your grandfather squirmed feebly under the thin blanket, and they parted in a state not unlike that of extreme medical distress. You shook when you poured me the drink. Your mind traced the razor tear in the fabric of your life, lit upon the broken glass, and you suddenly felt that something singularly terrible and frightening had happened. 2) A few weeks later, from France where she was vacationing “for her nerves”, your grandmother called you and sounded small and far away. She said that she was worried about your grandfather. How he didn’t get enough exercise at your uncle’s place. There were no flowers outside. How she couldn’t wait to go home and push him outside in the wheelchair. Because there were flowers outside. How he probably didn’t eat enough because they didn’t know what dishes he liked or how to prepare them especially for him. How there would always be flowers outside. How the room was too drafty that they put him in. And beautiful flowers. That was the day you drove me to New York and propositioned me in the backseat. But your heart wasn’t into it, so neither was I. We got about halfway and you saw the flowers on my panties, the same violets and pinks as your grandmother’s garden and you just couldn’t finish. We let the awkwardness settle in, and I pretended to be asleep the rest of the trip so that I wouldn’t be responsible for understanding everything outside of us that made us and all of the reasons therein. 3) In late spring, your grandfather passed away, alone, old, decrepit. You had to call your grandmother because no one else knew her contact information. The first three times, she was out, being vivacious, 8


being alive for the last time. You couldn’t sleep those two nights because the images of your grandfather’s indeterminate cold corpse haunted you. When you finally reached her, as soon as you said hello, she knew. She knew everything, and she fell, fell. Your mother put her on sleeping medication until she traveled home. --Then months passed, and you couldn’t tell if you were shaking or shivering when the cold winds came through again. When we met again in the fall, I had come back from a whirlwind worldwide adventure. I wanted to stand still for five minutes, maybe five hours. To stop moving and let the world move instead. To stop moving so I could hear these things: the wind, the earth, my heart. You told me the story and I cried later that night for you, because I finally understood what you were saying.

9


Jesus Sanchez

Letters from the Great Beyond Dearest Reader, There are movements afoot betwixt heaven and the soles of my shoes, beneath the sidewalks and hallways that mark the path of my days. Silence, deafening of life heretofore shall soon be shattered by winds howling and grackles cackling of change, of an upheaval not seen since the days of yore. I write to you, feathered quill in quaking hand, as I voyage between the setting and rising suns, traverse the leagues that estrange worlds old and new. What follows, my Dearest, is the truth, a horrid recollection: you must believe these words I cork within this bottle, a fragile vessel upon which I burden myself unto you, and pray it finds its way to your shores across the formless sea... I have seen what I have seen; the dead take the place of the living. I fear I am the last of these. They care not that I breathe, nor that my heart yet pumps the hot honey of life. The walking cadavers that prance outside my doorway grin their bony smiles, eye sockets filled with slush, knobby protrusions amid meaty stares. They prance to and fro as if they lived! They cackle and spit while they speak! What devilish scheme has befallen me? Am I sleeping soundly on a ship bound for heaven, a long cruise to the land of make believe? I crawl on the deck of a behemoth, slicing through a gray, flowing plain, its name clear yet the fog obscures all else: “Titanic,” and I freeze. All is surely lost as the captain and his crews engage in ungodly, unspeakable acts on the bridge. Is no one at station!? A grinding noise is heard, yet these corpses, lively and dancing, drinking and frolicking, cavorting and fornicating, as if they lived, do not hear with those decaying ears. But I do. And I feel the deck careen over, these happy guests now laughing and sliding into the cold, hungry sea. I slip, down, down, amid the crashing and the grinding, and reach out to grab hold of a falling woman’s hand as she slides by, but her arm pops out of its socket... she stares at me with her skullish bewilderment, surprised and confused, and laughs again as we both hit the freezing water. And so I join them, for there is a ball at the bottom of the sea, my Dearest, and the one armed lady has asked me to dance. And so I dance in step to the beat of the jazzy dead, in the dark and the cold, seaweed in my hair, and grin my toothy grin. They’ve got a hell of a band; how hideous and happy I am! Forever yours, waltzing to my seabed serenade, cold and deep,

J.S. 10


Richard Rigby Untitled

11


Art Category Honorable Mention Lester Rosebrock Ethiopia Sunset

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Christine Cheng

Funny But Not in a Bad Way Now who is going to say in a hushed voice that the curve of my lower back is amazing, Or slowly follow my eyebrow with her index finger, Or say, almost to herself, how she loves my unruly black hair As it falls and tangles into her long brown curls. Or tickle, clutch, exclaim! at my “little ribs!” Now who is going to laugh in such a way That I cannot tell if she is laughing with me or at me, And say that I am “funny” For kissing, and then again, the tip of her pointy nose. Pausing to add “But not in a bad way” Stamping dead Weeds of insecurity. Now who is going to present ingenious little solutions, Such as kissing with our eyes open, To everyday issues like... Oh this eye-shutting business automated into the smooching lip, Evil, to steal her from my view. No matter That we just met tonight. Because Now who is going to Tell me I am funny, But Not in a bad way. No matter alius alia aliud.

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Weiran Wu, MD

Dreams Dreams – nothing more than thinking of repressed id Of not being suppressed by consciousness of superego… Not only unconsciousness but also subconsciousness, With ignorance of superstition to provoke psychoanalytic creed. Dreams – nothing more than wishes for undoable deed, Of not being censored by norms of ego … Not only pure Oedipus but also dicey neurosis, With restriction of fantasy to weave erotic wonderland. Dreams – nothing more than stimuli with high threshold Of not being inhibited by presynapses in cortex … Not only spontaneous firings but also pathway crossings, With limitation of freedom to plow scenic dreamland. Unrealizable daydreams will all come true. Hush Baby! To soothe frustration of Life, I sing you Brahms’ lullaby…

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Katie Reppa Blue-Eyed Siblings

15


Emily Andry Neopolitan

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Pon-Pon Yeh

A Love Story in Four Acts

Act I

She: “Darling, darling, I love your curls!” She is in love, inexhaustible and serene. They streak across the hardwood floors. She is bold, brash bursts of red, and he trails her as calm, graceful lines of blue. They entwine into swirling purples and blossoming magentas. On white plaster walls, he is startling black charcoal, she is in yellow pastel dress, pirouetting slightly above his shadow. On heavy paper, she trembles with luminescent glitter, he is coruscated in bright fingerpaints.

Act II

Mornings, between sheets of plaid, they compose sheets of music, lilting and strange. She plants grace notes and trills about his simple, constant melodies. Her sharp staccato balances his sonorous legato. Point against point, counter point, morning until… Night time, they play taps on their fingers, their toes, his button nose. She snuggles in the space between his shoulder, listens to the deep hum of his organ-heart. They speak in concert, syncopated murmurs into the dark. Their organ-hearts decrescendo into sleep sounds.

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Act III

Long ago, she went to a circus. Amidst all the pomp and circumstance, she made fast friends with a sad Peruvian clown. They become such good friends that he teaches her his one talent, the ability to juggle anything. Clown: “The most important trick, mi nina, is to never look directly at the balls. Keep your hands moving, siempre moviendose, and DO NOT focus on any one of the balls. Don’t watch the balls. Don’t watch the balls. Don’t watch the balls or they will fly away from you, ido. Only by touching them lightly, hurriedly will they be sure to come back to you. If you grasp too hard, you are lost. Comprende?”

Act IV

They carry a fantastical book around, full of intrigue and comedy: “because all that is left is to laugh.” They read aloud as they run around the town. They jump off bicycles at alarming speed into the halting dialogue and immediately preceding epic battles, they break to nap in hammocks. Lyrical incongruence and absurdities follow them. They encounter awkward moments and lose the plot completely. No matter. They realize hidden messages and uncover unexpected story twists, embrace the balance between directness and subtleness, and, finally, reach the end. They stand still, facing each other. On the sidewalk. The sun backlights him with a dazzling halo. Those curls! That voice! This moment! She looks at him directly in the eye and

The End

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Andrew Fohn Curious Cow 19


Art Category Winner David Baker Encounter, Lake Texoma

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Literature Category Honorable Mention Susan Seale Jarvis, JD

Third Thursday in March The legal profession considers the first Monday of October as a benchmark date: the beginning of a new term of the United States Supreme Court. During a term, new legal precedents may be set; appeals denied; social policies changed for coming generations. Some parties will win; others will lose. Billions in damages may change hands. Medicine has its own annual benchmark date, a date that personally impacts every new physician: the third Thursday* in March, Match Day. On this day, fourth year medical students are matched with available residency programs. A central computer in the nation’s capital processes thousands of requests submitted by students along with requests from available residency programs. Ultimately the computer “matches” the requests. Some students are assigned to their first choice program; others are matched to unsolicited and possibly undesirable programs. Nearly a decade ago, Clarence Harrison, M. D., fell in the latter category. Or so he thought. *[Note: Historically, Match Day was held on the third Thursday of March; As of 2012, it is now the third Friday]

Clarence glanced down at the unopened envelope on his desk. Five inches by seven, cream colored, addressee’s name in flourishing letters—the same invitation he had received and ignored for the past nine years. He knew the words without opening the flap: “The medical class of 2002 invites you to its Tenth Annual Class Reunion.” Surely the alumni office got the message by now—he had no desire to return to the campus and the humiliation. The event was scheduled for the day following Match Day this year. Ironic. On his own Match Day, Clarence had been confident he’d be placed in a program of his choice. The hospitals in Houston, New Orleans, and Atlanta were all top tier. He had rushed to the free pizza and free beer at the outdoor park. Some schools gave students the option of learning of their matches in private. At his alma mater, announcements were made before the entire class, in alphabetical order. “Harrison” was one third down the list. “Hale, Melanie—Boston Mass.” Good for Mel. She deserved a top-notch match. The speaker’s voice was clear and loud. Clarence started toward the front; his name was next. “Harrison, Clarence --.” The speaker halted. “I’m sorry; I can’t pronounce the hospital’s name. Anyone hear speak Cajun French?” A classmate quickly raised his hand. “I studied French, pure French, at the Sorbonne, but I may be able to figure out a bastardization of the language.” Clarence knew that voice: Broderick Carmichael, his nemesis since the first day of anatomy. By the end of that day the entire class knew of the Carmichael wealth, prestige, and financial support of the medical school. Broderick made it clear he had no time for Clarence or anyone else in the class who grew up in public housing. Broderick approached the stage and slowly pronounced the name of a small parish hospital in southern 21


Louisiana. Smirking, he stepped down, passing Clarence on the steps.

“Relax, Harrison. It’s backwater bayou country; you should feel at home. Lots of gunshot wounds-hunters fighting over alligator hides, that sort of thing. Like your old hood. Reality TV stuff. You could call it Backwater Medicine.” A decade had passed and Clarence was still here, at the same small hospital in the bayou country. Whenever he considered an offer elsewhere, some medical crisis would hold him back. The last crisis involved Gaston Pasqual and his daughter Angelina. Until last year, Gaston was known as the best trapper in the area. Armadillos had been his prey of choice. The six foot seven Cajun had made major changes in the past year: he quit trapping, started a catfish farm, and moved out of his wooden shack on stilts to live in a forty-foot Winnebago. Two events accounted for the change: Angelina’s illness and a major oil strike on his land. Clarence would never forget Angelina’s illness. It was past midnight last fall when Gaston started banging on the door of the doctor’s home. “Doc H, open up! It’s me, Gaston! We got us a problem!” “It’s after midnight, Gaston. Go sober up and your problem will go away in the morning.” Gaston was very good at using the plural possessive whenever he wanted a favor out of someone. “And no, ‘we’ don’t have a problem! You do! You’re drunk!” Clarence swore he heard the man snuffle. “Aw, Doc H. You’re right. We ain’t got no problem. It’s Angelina here. Her’s the one with the problem.” Give the guy credit. He always knew how to get to someone. Slowly Clarence opened the door. “Gaston, you had better have a damn good reason for waking me up.” He looked from father to daughter. Gaston appeared sober. Despite his overindulgence in cherry bounce and barroom brawls, his devotion to his daughter was never an issue. Angelina’s mother died of cancer when the child was three. Gaston immediately assumed the dual parenting role in a surprisingly responsible way. Silently he held up his daughter’s badly scalded hands. She showed no signs of pain—no tears, no distress lines on her small face, no crying. “Gaston, what in blazes is going on here? “Doc, she don’t feel nothin’. She spilled a bucket of boiling water and says nothin’ hurts. It’s scary.” Clarence quickly evaluated the third degree burns on the child’s hands. He then noticed the scaly lesions on both arms. Similar lesions mottled her thin legs. “Does it hurt, Angelina? It’s OK to say so.” The child shook her head, showing no discomfort at all. “I don’t feel anything, Doc H. It’s kinda numb.” “Gaston, we’re going to the hospital where I’ll take some skin samples. I’ll send them to a clinic in Baton Rouge right away. By the way, has Angelina been around any armadillos lately?” 22


Gaston was puzzled. “What you think, Doc? Course she’s been round dillos; she even got one she plays with. Cute little critter, just a baby. She likes to hold him, play with him, just like a doll. Even named him Gus. Real cute, huh?” Clarence kept his opinion of Gus to himself. The suspected diagnosis could be devastating for Angelina both medically and emotionally. In the past, she would have been ostracized from the whole area for the rest of her life. “Tell you what, Gaston. I’m going to get those skin samples and you drive them into Baton Rouge. No speeding, but no loitering either. Got that?” One glance at Clarence’s face and Gaston knew the doctor was serious, real serious. Clarence called Baton Rouge, requesting a fast review of the biopsies. The call from the state capital the following morning confirmed Clarence’s suspicions. He immediately started the young patient on dapsone and rifampin. Now it was time to talk to Gaston. “Well, Doc H, what’s the matter with Angelina? Will she be OK? Is it something I did wrong to make her sick? I always check that there’s no pink left in the pork when I cook it, just like you said.” “You’re a good father, Gaston.” Clarence carefully selected his words, avoiding the inflammatory term. Further explanation could come later, when the crisis was past. “Angelina has a sickness that was discovered by a famous doctor from Norway, a Doctor Hansen. The sickness is named after him. I’ll just keep her here in this isolation room until the medicine starts working. You’ll have to make sure she keeps taking it until I say she can stop. Understand?” “Sure, Doc H. Anything else I can do?” “There is one more thing, and this will be hard, but you can do it. You’ll have to take Gus to a clinic in Baton Rouge that studies armadillos. Gus can really help medicine there. They’ll do research on him. We’ll see that Angelina gets another pet, maybe a dog from the animal shelter here.” “Can do, Doc. Angelina will be OK with that if she knows Gus is doing some good. He’s not really much of a pet, you know. No personality and he kinda stinks.” Six months after the diagnosis, the child’s symptoms had disappeared. Clarence had no problems with the child; the father became the challenge. In Gaston’s eyes, Clarence was the hero who had saved his daughter’s life. Every day Gaston appeared at the clinic. “Doc H, you gotta tell me what I can do for you. A man don’t let someone save his kid’s life and not repay him somehow. You want a new car? Those oil wells are really gushing now. How ‘bout a trip, on one of dem big boats? The kind with show girls and lotsa swimming pools?” The Cajun just wouldn’t give up. “Tell you what, Gaston, why don’t you give money to some good cause? Do it in my honor and we’ll be even. Then let’s just forget the whole thing.” Gaston’s sense of indebtedness was wearing Clarence down. 23


By the first of March, Gaston had stopped coming around the clinic. Clarence assumed he’d found some worthy cause, made the donation and moved on to other projects. As the reunion date approached, Clarence received three more letters and then a call from the medical school administration, insisting he come to the reunion. Finally he gave in; he could do the entire trip in two days at most. The campus hadn’t changed so much in the past decade. Two new buildings, fresh paint on the benches under the live oaks, a large open area roped off for some future structure. Clarence slowly entered the banquet hall, signed in, and picked up his name tag. A similar tag identified the medical student who was his guide for the event: “Leticia Robles, Fourth Year.” The stunning young woman seemed preoccupied, even dejected. “This way, Dr. Harrison. You’re sitting at the first table.” Questioned about the seating arrangement, his guide assured him there was no mistake. When the dinner was over, Clarence prepared to leave, quickly. The dean had other ideas for the gathering. “Everyone, please stay seated for our big announcement of the evening. You may have been wondering about the sign on the vacant area of the quadrant that reads “Future Home of…” Well, tonight you’ll know. That area will become the home of the Clarence Harrison Center for Hansen Disease Research. A very generous donor, Mr. Gaston Pasqual, has given the school $1 million in Dr. Harrison’s honor and in memory of someone named Gus. I presume the latter was a member of the Pasqual family. Am I right, Dr. Harrison?” Now Clarence understood why Gaston had kept badgering him about where he went to medical school. Clarence walked to the podium, graciously acknowledging the recognition. In closing, he said, “Gus was indeed a close family member. I might add that it is because of Gus that I am standing here tonight.” Leticia Robles waited to escort him out of the conference center. Clarence turned to the young woman. “Ms. Robles, you seem somewhat down tonight. I would think the day following Match Day would be one of the happiest in your medical school career. You can now start planning for your residency. Is it rude of me to ask what’s going on?” She looked up at him. “You wouldn’t understand, Doctor Harrison. Someone as esteemed as you. I didn’t get the match I wanted yesterday. I requested a prestigious medical center and instead I’m going to an inner city hospital that mainly cares for indigent immigrants. But like I said, you wouldn’t understand.” Suddenly it all made sense to Clarence. Ten years ago, he didn’t choose the program; the program chose him. That’s just how it works sometimes. “Be patient, Ms. Robles. Somewhere in that inner city hospital, there is a Gus waiting for you. The discovery may come in a surprising, even mysterious form, but it’ll open the right doors for you. Just trust the match. Believe me, I’ve been there and I know.”

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Shannon Williams Study Buddy 25


Literature Category Winner S(1)

Number Me? Oh numbers, numbers what do you mean? Could it be that I am not as I seem? Are my thoughts and hopes as I lay awake Something you with symbols can calculate? And my mind, the thing I think is pure Me Obey equations? You mean it’s not free? My silent me-ness, my intimate life Is no more than a fancy traffic light? As enzymes and atoms concatenate Or catalyze to keep my steady state Are you there, in shadows calling the shots? Directing towards the most probable plots? And what of that thing I once called my soul? Have mechanisms too this from Me stole? Have love and mercy and hope no more worth? Am I resigned to emotional dearth? If Me results from my neurons and brain With no spark, no soul, no god at the reins How could I hope for a more perfect dawn? For justice? For peace? For life when breath’s gone? And how will my children know good from bad? And where now is my balm of Gilead? It’s just not fair numbers! Out of the way! I like Me; my me-ness is here to stay. Keep on your work, but you had best pipe down. Count quickly, smartly, but without a sound. Yes, some things you’d better work faster at, Like treatments for cancer and heart attack. Go quantify disease, drugs and what-not; But Me and me-ness, would be best forgot. --“Number Me?” Journal of Medical Humanities. Forthcoming 2012

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Krithika Srinivasan Two Eyes Like Diamonds 27


Pooja Sarkar My Sister’s Keeper, Santipur Village, India

28


Chris Yan

Brothers I. You’re a jerk for never telling us when you’re in town, but it’s cool. I’ll still pick up next time you call. II. It’s five years later, and I don’t know how to give you this apology: this check for 200 dollars on your car payment is all I’ve ever been able to give you. Back when your dad kicked you out, but you loved him anyway, and you told me you still thought about your mother and your sister and brother too, but couldn’t kick the meth addiction to the curb, I wasn’t allowed to give you any money. To be honest, I was 18 and didn’t have money anyway. If I could do it over again, I would’ve sold my parents’ car, even my clothes, come running out naked to find you and bring you home.

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III. If you and I weren’t related we probably wouldn’t be friends. But we’re not related. How does that work? I’d give everything for what you have just so I could burn it to the ground. But if you go up in flames so do I. Point a gun to the sky— you’re the bullet, I’m the trigger. After the flash then the bang— I’m the falling bullet, you’re gravity, and the soft thud on the earth is a reminder of how one sparks the propulsion of another, first up then back down. IV. With you, it’s like a crapshoot, gambling on our luck and how far it takes us. Sometimes we have “one of those nights,” and then it’s like watching a recording of myself: reckless blazing cycles of a star that won’t die. Everything is in slow motion, running the mobius-patterned external plane of a world we don’t belong to. We’re drunk in the living room. You’re waiting to hear something profound, I’m waiting to say it. In the end, God hears neither of us and neither of us hears him.

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Stephanie Acosta Looking Up

31


Na’Miéeu Qa The Processed Art

32


Ben White

White Coat Inventory ID cards of course. The student ID from first year, polo shirt and spiky hair, cargo shorts mercifully out of frame. The University Hospital badge from two years into school, paler, fatter in the face, half-moon raccoon circles beneath the eyes. The Veteran’s Affair badge, the one kept in the middle of the stack, out of view. Whoever that hardened serial killer face belongs to is certainly not myself. The pens, which are all stolen. The eye chart, which is unused but shapes the chest pocket nicely. The stethoscope, which was my mother’s, which is red, which is a color I would never have chosen for myself because my eyes are blue and I like navy. I used to think I would buy a new one when I became a physician. But now, I’m not sure I see the point since a stethoscope is a stethoscope. The tongue depressors and cue tips and bandages, none of which I’ve used, which I forget are there even when they would be useful. The two rolls of tape I snatched from the supply room to re-tape bandages, slowly running out of adhesive since I rip small pieces off during rounds to fold in on themselves like amateur origami to pass the time. The trauma shears that recently cut a gash into the right arm of the coat itself because I was playing with them during rounds. The reflex hammer with the head and tailpiece which I unscrew and re-screw constantly during rounds like it’s my job. The tuning forks, the high frequency and the low frequency, the low which is especially fun to test my vibration sense, mostly during rounds. There is a trend here. Then there are the pieces of paper, folded into halves and fourths, full of lives and stories of dozens of patients that by all accounts should be disposed of and shredded but instead stiffen the inside pockets of my white coat until they flap like large polyesterish doors attached to my body. 33


There are the names and vital signs and medical record numbers and past medical histories, surgical histories, and family and social histories. There are medications and allergies, and diagnoses and plans. There are mistakes and laboratory values and imaging results and things to remember and things that have been forgotten, which are often the same things. There are little checkboxes next to items that are never checked because, while I like the idea, I am not the kind of person who checks boxes. There is the handwriting, which seems to get worse every day. The coat itself is short like on a busboy at a cheap restaurant that wants to pretend it’s something special. But it’s not. It’s trying too hard and nothing you put inside it will change the fact that it’s poorly made and poorly fitted. What it really needs is a spot in the corner of the closet where the memories go. Because people don’t judge a white coat by its contents but by its cover, and the inventory just makes it heavier.

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Na’Miéeu Qa Maybe We’re All Just Puppets 35


Jessica Hollingsworth Peace Comes from Within

36


Matt Mullane

The Doctor You were a peaceful heart, and in the winter you were warm, But even you could not hide from the reaches of the storm. It took ahold of your good home, and it crashed upon your doors, Turned your windows into sand and carved ceilings from your floors. “Now I can feel you breathing, the fires from inside Of your body, escaping from your foolish pride.” “I can stop your bleeding, take away your pain,” Said the weathered doctor, “you will live again.” You will live again. He placed his leather satchel on the ledge above the sand, He numbed your mind from feeling any touch of his cold hand. His scalpel made incisions through the fabric of your soul, And he sewed the shattered pieces of your heart ‘til it was whole. “Now I can feel you beating, the rhythm of your drum A steady, quick contraction, ticking time in everyone.” “Yes I can stop your bleeding, take away your pain,” Said the weathered doctor, “you will live again.” You will live again. And the troubled world behind you lends its wisdom to your soul. Your eyes, they find the scarlet skies, your feet leave earth below... “Yes, I can stop your bleeding, take away your pain,” Said the weathered doctor, “you will live again.” You will live again.

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Ryan Sheridan Untitled 38


Literature Category Honorable Mention Pooja Sarkar

Shradh, from My Brother’s Sister Nilam’s shradh, or memorial, was held on a Saturday, on an overcast damp morning in the middle of October. I was in the third grade. Our neighbors had already put up their Halloween decorations—every year the homeowner’s association voted on the Best Haunted House—and I could see the giant inflatable pumpkins and plastic skeletons swaying in the wind off their porches. I had decorated our porch too. The fake cobwebs were matted from the rain the night before, and they hung down in large clumps, sticking to the wooden railings that held them. Ma yelled at me that morning to take them down—to take everything down. Gauri was following me around, sucking her thumb voraciously. She thought we were having a party because all our relatives were there, even the ones from India who we had never met until now.They had just flown in the night before. “Is this a surprise birthday?” Gauri followed me onto the porch and stood in the front doorway, holding the screen door ajar with her bare foot. “What are you talking about? Shut up.” I was snatching bunches of cotton cobwebs and stuffing them in a plastic grocery bag when she came out. “Where’s Nilaaa? Are we surprising him?” “Gauri, go inside before you get in trouble.” “Did Ma buy cake? Nilaaa likes chocolate like me.” She grinned, and I felt sick. Nilam had jumped. In the dead of winter. Off a quiet bridge and into a loud gorge. The college held a memorial service for him and eventually erected suicide barriers on all the bridges on campus. I had to learn this from the archives of the campus newspaper years later, when I was old enough to look beyond my parents’ version of the story. Even now, whenever I cross a bridge, I can’t help but close my eyes and imagine my poor brother’s body, flailing wildly and crashing into ice-covered rocks. I wonder if he regretted it in his final moment as he felt the sharp mist of the freezing water. Everyone was speaking in hushed voices in the living room when Gauri and I returned from the porch. I didn’t know what to tell her. Baba told me my brother was gone, but I never saw them bring back the body— those things are not for children to see, Baba said. There was the phone call, a few evenings ago, but that was it. Ma was cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner and Baba was watching Larry King in the living room. The phone rang. Ma picked up and suddenly started moaning loudly, then shrieking. It was the most horrible sound I had ever heard.

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Baba came running from the other room, and found Ma collapsed against the kitchen wall, with the phone hanging by its curly cord, buoying like a yo-yo as it banged against the tile floor. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head and I don’t remember what I was doing, but I saw it all happen, in slow motion, from the hallway. Gauri was thankfully asleep upstairs already, or else she would have started crying too. I just stood there until my father noticed me, at which point he just yelled at me to go upstairs and wait for him in my room. He never came upstairs that night, and I must have fallen asleep soon after, for I woke the next morning still in my jeans, curled up on my bed and late for school. The priest from our local temple, a short bald man draped in what looked like a toga, now moved to our backyard, where he lit a small fire on a pyre that had been prepared. Marigolds and calypso were arranged meticulously around the site, and women –aunts, cousins, friends, all dressed in white saris, followed the small man, wailing unapologetically. Auntie Jai from Jersey, who I only remember meeting once before, at some cousin’s wedding a few months earlier, squeezed my hand and dragged me to the kitchen, where she asked me if I wanted a sweet from the cabinet. She stared at me through her thick rimmed glasses, which magnified her sad eyes and revealed tiny wet wrinkles that radiated from her tear duct, and glistened under the bright kitchen light. She gave me an extra pastry for Gauri, which I promptly stuffed in my mouth as soon as I escaped into the hallway. Baba was in the corner, standing amongst a hoard of uncles and men who I recognized as his colleagues from the University. I inched closer to the throng of men, hiding behind a tall potted plant and trying to swallow the large chunk of pastry that caked my throat. “It was an accident. What could we have done? Our only son, but he had to grow up, no? He had to go and see the world.” “Vivek, he was a beautiful boy and you and Madhuri should still be so proud.” The men seemed calm, but curious. Baba’s voice choked and trailed off. He pulled uncomfortably at the collar of his kurta, which was starched unforgivingly stiff, and seemed to be the only thing holding him up. Their conversation went on for what seemed like an hour longer, and when I noticed Gauri was no longer following me, I set off to find her before Ma got even angrier. I found her outside on the backyard patio, holding a large silver bowl of flowers. “I’m just helping Thakurmoshai. Don’t look so mad.” I watched my little sister hold the bowl as several priests came and collected the flowers from it. Thakurmoshai, the head priest, was directing the others. They worked silently, arranging the site for Nilam’s ceremony. Oil lamps surrounded the offerings of painted coconuts, sliced mangos and plums, which were scattered among pitchers of water from the holy Ganges river. Small porcelain figures of Hindu deities stood crookedly on silk covered pedestals, overlooking the arrangement before them. Their tongues hung out in warrior fashion, and the deities posed fiercely, holding sickle-shaped spears and shields. I recognized one statue of a goddess, Durga, who had ten arms, and crouched with a tiger who was simultaneously mauling an 40


Harold J. Burg Done Delions evil man. This was the mythology I had learned in Sunday school, and read about in books Nilam had given me. The wind picked up again, and threatened to blow the fire out, but the priests stood around it defiantly, forming a barricade that sheltered it. When my mother came out to the patio, Gauri dropped the silver bowl with a deafening clatter. She ran into my mother’s arms, crying and I watched as my mother carried her back to the house. The silver bowl bounced several times and then spun on its side, banging against the pebbled patio floor and grinding the fallen flowers into the gravel. I realized then that I was still clutching the plastic bag full of soggy cobwebs. Kneeling down, I carefully picked up the bits of smashed flowers and threw them into the bag. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a plastic skeleton hanging from my neighbor’s back porch. The fake bones rattled against the sliding glass door in the wind, drowning out my sister’s cries. 41


Jason P. Rocha

Call Me Dr. (and Nothing Less) To respect is to comply with one’s wishes. But how can respect be paid when the PIN is unknown? How do you do Mrs., I mean Ms. Sir, I mean Nurse Elizabeth, I mean Dr. Sorry. I didn’t mean to disrespect. In our fast-paced society, the use of titles has taken a hit and not just because of the recession. If titles were truly important, you bet there would be an app for that. Do I call you “Dr.” when you’ve given me a diagnosis without a cure? A Band-Aid® without a solution? Have you ever used your title as a VIP pass? For some, the title stirs up frustration since the patient’s critical thinking skills and memory of caveat emptor were not left at the glass doors of the for-profit hospital. I wish to be called Doctor out of respect. What titles show other caregivers equal, if not greater, respect? Thanks for filling my pain medication Pill Dispenser Joe. I’m so glad my blood pressure is back to normal Certified Nursing Assistant Tammy. Is the title of “Dr.” forever worn both inside and outside the O.R? For attaining higher education by quenching an ungodly thirst for knowledge with taxpayer money? For reciting an oath? “Dr.” reminds me of my professional duty. Do my ailments not? Doc! The patient is at the center of my practice, and by the way, it’s “Doc-tor Last-name” (and nothing less). Masking the meaningful identity of the physician, this grave request whispers, “Let’s not get personal,” directly into the good ear canal of your new partner. “Dr.” reminds me that You are the Sufferer and I, the Savior. In a new age of medicine where patients come across multiple doctors for any given malady, it would be flattering to hear the patient call me Jason rather than Dr. _________ (and nothing more).

42


Neelima Navuluri Schoolgirls

43


Shannon Williams

If I Could Knit My Heart a Sweater

Hemorrhage

If I could knit my heart a sweater I would also waterproof my sorrow Dust off my memories And organize my thoughts

Hearts lose their purpose, oftentimes Enough damage is done that More is lost than gained, Overflowing into the great unknown Red roses replaced by Red noses Hardly enough substance left to Arrange a coherent thought Gathering darkness around the End of this organ of love

I would gig that frog out of my throat And pry the cat off my tongue Foot out of mouth, and stick out of.... I would take a file to that chip on my shoulder And douse my spitfire with a handy extinguisher Take a cold shower My pride I would chain up And I would feed it less Maybe just not feed it I would water the seeds of hope And plant them on the sunny side of my life To attract butterflies I would remind my values that God gave them a backbone And they would stand up taller Or else I would let my inner child run free And feed it candy Chocolate

44


Jessica Hollingsworth Off to Find an Adventure

45


Ryan Sheridan Untitled

46


Asif Khan

Final Curtain When I heard the winter murmurs of a dying baby, I wanted to fold up the sky like a game board,

roll-up the stars,

unhook the moon,

And bury them beneath my bed. Dostoevsky got it right. The suffering of one innocent child is enough to make Christmas decorations of all celestial bodies. So when you leave this great stage of fools, Where the living play dead, and trail like dusty shadows Behind the curtains, turn to the director’s chair

and see it empty.

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Art Category Honorable Mention William Miller Copenhagen Canal

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50


Editors’ Section

Nilan Naik, Visual Arts Junior Editor Fisherman and Boat in Zanzibar, Tanzania

51


Christopher J. Wisely, Literature Chief Editor

Friends in Troubled Times It’s when those you hold so close Distance themselves so far away When those you wish to talk to most Have nothing more to say

I know it hurts you deeply To feel treated this way, betrayed I too traveled this path, same destination Felt the same pain, sorrow, outrage

Your world crumbles, the time has come Now you need and want them near Yet, they desert, leave you all alone Their self-preservation is clear

It hurts to let someone you trusted most Blow you off, disappoint, let you down Makes you wish for some escape To disappear, run away, leave town

When you’ve placed your full trust Put faith in them, you believe And they take advantage of you Gotten what they came for, up and leave

Maybe you don’t need to run just yet There’s undoubtedly more good to come You are not alone, if you don’t so wish Reach, take my hand, I’ll lead you home

One in whom you’ve confided, shared Broken pieces of yourself, your heart Now turns coldly away from you Abandons you in catacombs; damp, dark

There isn’t much that I can give But what I offer is forever and sincere My unending friendship and support My shoulder and my ear

Feelings once of excitement, joy A closeness, admiration and pleasure Now unveiled is the true monster – Manipulative narcissist, full of grandeur

I can’t promise to say all the right things I don’t even know when to talk or to not But you can always count on me If life is bright, peachy… or tied in knots

“Why didn’t you see this before? Was it truly this way all along? Was there ever really love and friendship Did it never exist, or is it now gone?”

I don’t claim to be the right person And although I don’t think I’m the best I can listen when you want to talk You can cry, vent, release some stress

Your mind and spirit clouded, numb The heart aches, soul weeps Tissue boxes again run empty As the eyes from which this river seeps

You are an amazing person and friend True, honest, dependable, caring, kind I enjoy our time together, good or bad And love that you speak your mind

How could your life end up like this? You did everything good and right You followed directions, now you suffer Wandering, lost; losing hope and sight

Don’t let these others drag you down To challenge your beliefs or who you are You’re better than them; We’ve got this! I’ll be your rock, and you’ll be my star 52


Whitley Aamodt, Literature Junior Editor Moonlight, Boca Chica, Dominican Republic 53


54


Jason P. Rocha, Visual Arts Chief Editor

Connective Tissue in a Blue Bottle Strolling along the seashore of the Gulf of Mexico with a fishing pole in hand, Connective Tissue came to mind and inspired me to pull out my camera phone to photograph this capsized Man o’ War. Siphonophores like Physalia utriculus (pictured) hang out on the surface of warm waters with thousands of others and fish in the same waters that I do. What’s more is that neither of us uses our own body parts to capture fish. This Cnidarian is a floating colony of four types of organisms collectively called polyps—each of which is so specialized that when separated ruins the ship. The four polyps include the pneumatophore (float and sail), dactylozooids (tentacles and stingers), gastrozooids (stomach), and gonozooids (producing both sperm and ova). Because the symbioses of these four organisms are so tight siphonophores smudge the lines between colonial and multicellular organisms. So the next time you find a “jelly fish” underneath your sandal, remember that even those that appear to be mundane might be interconnected in more ways than meets the eye.

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Amanda E. Lipsitt, Editor in Chief The Road Home 56


Connective Tissue 2012 | Volume 5