New Physician Summer 2012 : Page 20
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Creative Arts Contest
The experience of becoming a physician is an emotional, draining and often comic experience that coincides with coming into adulthood. The entries in our 18th Annual Creative Arts Contest reflect the diverse challenges future physicians face.
Every summer for the past 18 years, we've gathered the creative work of future physicians around the world and presented it to their colleagues. While the Creative Arts Contest is just that–a contest–we know that choosing a handful of works over dozens of other entries comes down to our subjective judgment. So, instead, we would like the "winners" and other works to serve simply as a gallery that inspires our readers.
With more than 160 entries, this year's judging process was particularly exciting. We chose Libby Loft's "Havre Sunset" for the cover because it captured an out-of-context moment for a physician-in-training. In her poem "The Encounter," Dr. Kristen Fried illustrates a frustration any fourth-year can relate to. You'll also find works of whimsy, like Quynh Pham's untitled portrait of her sister flipping through the channels, or Duane Jurma's "Night Lights," capturing the motion and joy of a night at the fair.
We hope you enjoy these and the rest of the collection, and if they inspire you, please consider sharing your own work with us next year. For more short stories and poems we'd like to share with you, visit www.amsa.org/tnp/cac.
Pete Thomson and Mary Jo Lawrence, eds.
Into the Night
by April Christensen
She lifts the lace gently, peering out at the red glow cast across the opposing rooflines, the house fronts below cast in shadow. In the waning evening, a porch light flames to life, silhouetting a mother calling in her children, a boy and girl covered in dirt and laughter. On another porch, the figure of a man sitting on a bench, obscured in the lengthening shadows. He will remain there, long after the bedroom lights disappear, plunging the street into darkness. Only then, when the last light has gone, will he rise on his cane and hobble into the lonely house.
The phone rings behind her for the fifth time, and she closes her eyes, picturing the scene in morning. The golden beams striking the houses with mounting brilliance, windows shining, untainted. The children rushing to the yard, syrup clinging to the corners of their mouths as they race for the basketball. The man's swing sitting empty.
'Angela, I know you're there." The voice rings out mechanical, harsh against the dining room walls. "You come home right now. Grandma...'' the voice softens a little, "she's not going to make it much longer." Another voice. "You ungrateful wretch! All she's done for you, and you ignore her. If you don't come home now, don't ever plan on coming back.''
The words keep rattling through the room, but the figure by the window remains in place, rocking ever so slightly on her heels. Her eyes open on the darkness outside, searching for the man sitting alone in the darkness.
She had been home for the Fourth of July. Had seen it before everyone else. The way her grandma's face started to resemble the squash she grew in her garden. The careful winces when she thought no one was looking. The way pounds appeared to slip from her figure into nothingness.
One night, she sat with her grandma on the porch after everyone left, the yard light stretching ghostly fingers toward the velvet countryside. Before them, the fireflies leaped and pirouetted, filling the silence with their grandiose ballet. As they shrouded themselves in darkness, Angela broke their breathless watching. "Grandma."
"You know what I wish?" Her voice came firm, more real than the magical waiting a moment before. "That you would remember me, as I am, right now." Her eyes turned to Angela's. "Right now"
A warm breeze brushed the fireflies to the other side of the yard, pushed wisps of hair across Angela's cheek. "They won't understand"
"They won't remember."
She drops the curtain in front of her face, the street now obscured from her sight. In a turn, she picks up the phone and speaks above the noise. "I'm not coming home." A click, voices retreat into silence. The answering machine blinks at her angrily while she reaches across to pick up her keys. As the phone rings once more, she walks into the night.
April Christensen is a rising fourth-year at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her short story "Mirror of Myself" also won the category last year.
Untitled Self Portrait
by Krithi Srinivasan
Krithi Srinivasan is a rising second-year medical student at the university of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Milk 'n Acid
by Christine Cheng
You carelessly poured a can of coconut milk into two glasses
Let it dance with OJ and scotch
I looked at the concoction about to protest
You replaced my shirt with your lips
The milk settled from the acid
Christine Cheng is a rising third-year medical student at the university of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The Lawnmower to the Grass
by Ian Gleaner
Individually rising from the ground forming a heap of singularity.
Do they know they all look the same?
Do they know they share one, insignificant title? competing to be the tallest strand the first to be cut down.
Ian Gleaner is a rising senior biology major at the University of Maryland.
by Libby Loft
University of Washington School of Medicine rising fourth-year Libby Loft took this photograph of classmate Cait Campbell while they were on a rotation in Havre, Montana. After finishing up their work for the day, the two drove to the edge of town to watch the sunset.
by Marco Suarez
The torch captured by premed Marco Suarez illuminated a public square in Bogota where a crowd had gathered to dance and celebrate Colombia's independence. The flames themselves evoke dancing figures.
by Quynh Pham
Virginia Tech premed Quynh Pham used chalk pastel to capture her younger sister Vanessa in her "typical environment."
Solitary Coin Lesion
by Jason E. Cheng, M.D.
When we came post-op day one, you looked over asking your rhetorical "hmm" thin like your body
tilted halfway up in bed or shuffling to the bathroom with back and bottom bare through the thin green gown,
each movement deliberate like it was all you had. My words of hope were like a hand reaching
out awkwardly to pat you on the back. Your meek "thank you" instead of clear, strong Chinese. The words we really
need are inside us like solitary coin lesions biding their time. We're used to exchanging a harder currency.
When the doctor said no therapy is indicated, I was in the corner because it was not about me,
but it should have been. Once again you ask, so I'm not doing chemo? No, dad, we're not doing it.
You sat back, but your feet were fidgeting. Your lung had demonstrated a single lesion, hazy, indistinct, poorly defined.
Dr. Jason E. Cheng is a PGY-4 psychiatry resident at the University of California, San Francisco.
by Rebecca MacDonell-Yilmaz, M.D., M.P.H.
In the moment of shattered peace teams break ranks primal gender roles reprise
Women ready the room weave restraints through bed rails herd flocks to safety
Men stalk the offender wield spears of Haldol parade back with spoils of the hunt
In the regrouping Badges are righted hierarchical roles restored
Dr. Rebecca MacDonell-Yilmaz is a recent graduate of Stony Brook University School of Medicine. To read some of her other poems judges enjoyed, go to www.amsa.org/tnp/cac
MLK Sunrise Over the Eisenhower
by Jack Temple
Jack Temple is a rising second- year at Rush Medical College.
He captured this image of the Eisenhower Interstate's path to downtown Chicago on the morning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Self-Portrait Without Eyes
by Radeeb Akhtar
New York Medical College rising fourth- year Radeeb Akhtar captured in charcoal a "certain period" of his life.
Back to Basics
by Gosia Krzyszczak
A rising third-year at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Gosia Krzyszczak intended "Back to Basics" to symbolize a holistic approach in medicine. We appreciated its use of perspective.
by Kristen Fried, M.D.
"What brings you in today?"
Articulating this rehearsed phrase
I've been trained.
Neatly pressed, short white coat
Poised to decipher a new case.
"I've got a rash on my scalp"
The old woman skeptically mutters
Three times my age.
Eyes squint, inspecting me, scoff:
What could this child know?
"Let me have a look"
Eyes squint, carefully inspecting
Widen into my assessment
I've seen this, in three years of training:
"It looks like dandruff."
"Oh no, It couldn't be dandruff!"
Sneering, eyes narrow disapproval. Face furrows:
I wouldn't come in for something so simple,
Widens into her assessment:
This child knows nothing.
"Let me look again"
Eyes squint, inspecting anew
It still looks just like dandruff.
"You've got a seborrheic dermatitis
Declare this time, with conviction.
"You don't say!"
Exclaims, delighted. Validated.
Eyes widen. Nods approval
Such big words from this small child.
As if she does know something....
Dr. Kristen Fried is a recent graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
Night Lights and Bulldog Spirit
by Duane Jurma
Duane Jurma will start medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in August. As an undergraduate student at the University of Georgia, Jurma was the sports photographer for the university's yearbook. "Night Lights," bottom, was taken from the top of the Ferris wheel on the Navy Pier in Chicago. "Bulldog Spirit" captures a rabid football fan.
Read the full article at http://www.onlinedigeditions.com/article/Creative+Arts+Contest/1054353/110399/article.html.