This page is meant to serve as an outlet for members of the Georgetown University School of Medicine community to express themselves artistically.  If you are a member of this community and wish to have your artwork presented on this page, please contact Conor Hynes (Class of 2012) at cfh22@georgetown.edu.


The eye

The stars are ever-present, always watching over us, and the clouds move slowly by. As my mind races each day, full of facts and mnemonics, these things bring me calm.

Red wine and the moon are my companions.

I cherish this moment of peace
within the studying storm.

-Gregory Shumer, Class of 2013


I want someone to hold my hand
by Sarah Murray

In my geriatrics elective this past summer, I met a sweet-eyed, white-haired nursing home resident whom I will remember forever.
Longevity had been both a blessing and a burden for this woman. Sometimes she remembered that she was living in a nursing home; more often she asked when she would be going home to Virginia. She thought that her children were lost. She thought that her grandchildren were lost. Perhaps most frustrating of all, she was aware of her deteriorated memory state – “I’m not doing very well at all.”
For some reason, I felt especially drawn to this woman while accompanying the attending on his morning rounds. She was on our list for the day because one of her eyes was painful and red. “It hurts,” she told us, matter-of-factly.
Her eye was erythematous and clearly irritated. Yet, she was incredibly calm and graceful. She patiently waited for us as we looked at her eye over and over, blinding her with our pen lights and asking her to gaze in all directions. She barely blinked as we placed fluorescin drops. She sat perfectly still during our opthalmoscopic exam. She carried herself with pride and dignity, and her eyes were courageous and strong.
When we finished the exam, I started to push her wheelchair back but noticed that she was trying to get my attention. “Are you ok? Do you want something?” I asked her.
“I want someone to hold my hand.”
(I want someone to hold my hand?)
I paused for a minute, thinking of iatrogenic infections and the hand sanitizer I would need to locate before the next patient…
Then I luckily came to my senses.
Of course. Of course I should hold her hand.
I reached down and beheld her slender, graceful fingers, wrinkly with the marks of a lifetime. Her veins were gentle waves under the veil of her skin, her fingers slightly bent, her wrist straightened. She had raised her left arm with the grace of a dancer as if to flag down a cab or answer a question – patiently waiting for attention.
Our fingers touched.
I held her hand.
I stayed there for a few minutes with her, hand-in-hand, and tried to comfort her.

-----

When we saw her the following day, she asked me again, “Will you hold my hand?”
“Why do you want me to hold your hand?”
“I… I think it makes me feel more secure.”
Such vulnerability. Such transparency. How could I refuse?
As I held her hand again, I thought about how many of us and how many of our patients must often feel the same way. Please, World, hold my hand. Brother, Sister, hold my hand. I need to be comforted. I need to feel secure. I need you.


Girl
-Arthi Venkat, M12


All Is Calm on Greenwich
-William Dishong, M10


DC Blossoms, Jefferson Memorial
-Maki Sato, M12


 Squirrel
-Lindsay Voss, M12


Norma Jean
-Jessica Maglione, M12


North Shore - Winter Swells
-John Kwock, M11


Ad
-Arthi Venkat, M12 


The Hill
-William Dishong, M10 


Savant Love
-Will Dixon, M13

Mommy gave me the first feeling lessons on Tuesday April fifth 2005. It wasn’t something the doctor said to do, but she said I had to because she said even though I didn’t have the feelings I was smart and I could learn them.
She started with the happy feeling. She made me look at her face and she opened her mouth up and stretched it out and wrinkled her face and made her eyes smaller and curved. That was happy, she said. She asked me if I remembered the time when the ice cream man was so nice to me and gave me another cone when my first one falled. I said yes I did: it was Wednesday August fourth 2004 because it was my ninth birthday.
She said, “Do you remember how it felt?”
I said, “It was good because I thought I won’t eat the ice cream but then I did.”
She said, “But do you remember how that made you feel?”
I said, “It was good.”
She said, “You were happy. You did this:” and she made her mouth big and face wrinkled again.
I didn’t know about that. I didn’t know about wrinkling my face, and I told Mommy, but she said I did again, and that it was because I was happy.
Then Mommy brought the mirror around with her very much, and on Friday April eighth 2005 Blackie and Michael was running all around the house and he jumped over a chair and up on the couch. I was watching him and then Mommy put the mirror between us. I saw my mouth spreaded very big like Mommy’s was, and I saw my eyes very small and almost closed. I said I didn’t want to see it anymore.
She hugged me and wiped my face.
She said, “Reggie, did you see how you were happy? You were making this face,” and she did it again, “and you thought it was very funny to see Blackie barking and running all around.”
Then I thought about the happy face very much, and when I walked through the hallways to my classroom next to Paul, I looked at the faces on the other kids and sometimes they wrinkled and their mouths were big and I learned they were happy ones.
In school Thursday April twenty-first 2005 I talked to Paul about the happy face when Paul showed me math. He did it and I didn’t ever see him do it before. He said when we walked to the next class we could see someone doing the face. When we walked I saw a girl with mouth very stretched and eyes small and very loud. Paul didn’t say anything and I telled him to see the happy face, but he said we shouldn’t look at her anymore and I said, “But isn’t it a happy face?”, and Paul said that it wasn’t and we shouldn’t look anymore. The girl was gone then, and Paul said that was a sad face because of her wet face and because of the loud noises.
He said, “Remember when you were very upset in the gym?”
I remembered that on Tuesday January twentieth 2005 a boy said it when we were exercising and it was bad.
He said, “You were sad then, too. You were crying like she was because you were sad.”
When I came home I asked Mommy about sad, and she said that would be our next feeling lesson. She said about how my face gets wet and my body shakes, and it happens when something bad happens and that’s how our body feels it.
Then the next day Friday April twenty-second 2005 Michael was playing the Nintendo and I wanted to do it. And we could play at the same time but he said I would make him lose and Mommy came and said, “Why did you make Reggie cry?” and telled Michael to let me play. But when Mommy left Michael said it, and I telled him not to and Mommy ran in and hugged me and I said Michael said it and Michael said he didn’t and Mommy said to him to go to his room.
Mommy hugged me a lot and said I was good and that Michael did not mean to and that he was just upset. She got a mirror and asked if I wanted to see what sad was like and showed me what the tears on me looked like. She asked what I feeled about Michael and said it was mad or upset. She said it was okay and that everyone feels like that a lot of the time.
On Tuesday April twenty-sixth 2005 Michael said he don’t want to have to ride to school on the little bus that comes to our house. He telled Mommy that Geoffrey Richards and Vinny Amalfatano call him a retard and he says it’s his little brother that is autistic and then they made fun of him more. Mommy said to him stop it because he is making me upset and Michael didn’t say anything else.
When we got to school, though, before Paul came and took me Vinny came with lots of other people and he said it and I don’t want him to and he doesn’t stop. Michael said for me to stop flipping out but I telled him I can’t and Paul takes me home. Mommy has to come home from work to help me.
She teached me all that day because she said that we should be learning since it is a school time. We did multiplying and dividing and she readed to me and helped me do it, too. Then she also said we should try to work on my feelings. She shows me the angry face and said why she does it, and I see it and I think I can know it when I see it again. She gives me the mirror and lets me make it too.
After lunch Mommy and me go out to the grocery store. She lets me push the cart, except down to get the cereal. She goes to bring it back and I wish she didn’t but she said they’re Michael’s favorite and she’ll make sure he doesn’t say it. We saw a woman making a loud noise with another woman who didn’t making as much noise and Mommy said, “What is she feeling?”
I looked at her and saw the stretching face and the smaller eyes and I think it was happy or sad and I didn’t see the wet face so I said, “Happy”
Mommy said that was right. She said I am getting very good at seeing feelings and we could work on more. She said, “Do you know the word love, Reggie?”
I said that I didn’t know about it.
She said yes that love means caring about someone very, very much and liking them a lot so that when good things happen to them you feel good and bad things happen to them you feel bad. She said that she loved me so when bad things happen to me it made her sad.
I didn’t know about love. I asked how to see it on the face and she said love was harder to see outside and comed more from inside.
I said, “How do you know it is there?”
She said, “You have to pay very close attention to how you think about someone. Think about what you would think if something bad or good happened to that person.”
I thought about Mommy and her ice cream cone breaking but I didn’t see the love. I told her I didn’t think I did love. Mommy said I would and we would work on it.
The next day Wednesday April twenty-seventh 2005 Michael was talking on the phone and he said that he loved that movie that he seen last night. I didn’t know and I asked Mommy why and she said that sometimes people said love to show people that they liked something very much. She said that was because love was a very strong feeling and people said love when they had very strong feelings about something and when they said it about a person it means that they like them as much as they can. She said she loved me but I don’t know about it.
Then Friday April twenty-ninth 2005 at school Paul said we should talk about why I didn’t like it when people said it. He didn’t say it but he said, “the thing you don’t like when people say.” He said maybe if we talked about it I won’t not like it so much when people say it.
I didn’t want to very much, but he said, “Do you have any bad memories with them?”
I said, “No.”
He said, “Do you just not like the word?”
I said, “I don’t like to hear it.”
He said, “What if I just say part of it? Is that bad?”
I didn’t know, and he said, “Cheer” and I didn’t like it and he said he wouldn’t say even a little of it any more.
He said, “Do you not like to eat them?”
I said, “No. I eat it. I don’t like to hear it.”
He said that it happened to other people and I wasn’t different but maybe if we tried to talk about it sometimes it won’t bother me. I didn’t want to but Paul said it was okay and he won’t make me.
Then at home Mommy telled me more about love feelings.
She said, “When was there a time that you thought someone was very good because they did something?”
I said I didn’t know anything like that.
She said, “Would you think it was bad if someone hurt me?”
I tried to think about it but I didn’t know. She said she knew that I could feel the love feeling and she would think about how to help me do it.
Then on Tuesday May third 2005 Michael and I went to the park down the street after school because Mommy was working late. I went on the swings and Michael played basketball with the other boys. I swinged for a long time and then some big grade five boys came over to the swings and they were talking. They were sort of quiet and I thought I might have heard them say it quietly but I didn’t know and I didn’t like it so I walked at where Michael was but the other boys saw me get off and they walked with me.
One said, “Is it true that you’re scared of a cereal?” and they all made the happy faces.
Another one said, “Why is your face all funny?” and he tried to touch me but I moved.
Another one said, “Hey, where you going?”
And another one said, “Look, the baby’s crying!”
And then another one said it very loud, and then another one said it again.
He said, “Look at what he does when I say it!”
And then they all said it together and louder.
They said, “Cheerios! Cheerios! Cheerios!”
And I runned then but then I got to the school wall and the door wasn’t there and they were all there and they said it more and more, and then I saw Michael coming and I thought he was going to say it too and I wanted him to go but then he hitted a boy in the ear and they stopped saying it and he grabbed me up and runned me away and they didn’t come and he put me down and he looked at me and I saw him and I remembered what Mommy said about the love feeling and I thought that maybe it was love that Michael did.


Tree and Lake
-Maki Sato, M12


Nature Unfolds
-Conor Hynes, M12

Hence the sun
through flakey morning fronds,
for the cold fresh air, and the white breath; and
Hence the bright teeth peaking
through for their own stretched chapped lips.
One man stood up, and rustling in the daybreak
his whispered air
stole just beneath his squint;
It’s been just a week:
     A consequential silhouette for an extant sunrise.

His imprecise, rangy fingers flapped with knack,
swift and up, so
to deliver here his carefully folded analogy
of paper, of crane
that flapped
and squawked to the sky in rhythm– a promise

Offered up as spectacle for the bright and frequent eyes
in creases of perfect flesh,
like crows feet in manner agog.
Surely time starts
now,
when any head turns a curious glance.
This air dazzles!
Now
is the exploit of the mirror
of the heyday;
of the new year NOW. Despite the cold air.

Unfolded is the surface that shall cast back every bolt of light,
from now until the sun is shade, into deep space.

We can start by saving.

Each of us work ‘til we’re all sore
and bumping into each other amused
as blind mice ditzy, delirious in rhyme. But intentionally,
for easing after a long good sunset.
We’ll chop wood and plant seeds. We’ll eat.
We’ll talk about it all – the crevices and the splinters
of the new world warm.
The nouns that refract, the touches we don’t understand;
them adjectival.
We’ll have to wink communication
when fatigue has sealed our lips for many days.

From above, the sight of weather quilting we that
hunt and gather -we that
flap and squawk but build dams-
with threads of water and snow
will impart
no humility.
This flock of hands will pull the elemental seams;
will make a nest of fortune;
     Will savor dumplings and bacon
     at breakfast in bed,
and trail crumbs and spill juice down the front of distress without care
     –not chilled by the beauty of disaster, though sheer!
And the inches of water place a rug for splash-reveling
in our bouquet mosh that will spill out across the slope of the yard.

When we stretch out across the earnest grass,
Unfolding each of our determinant fingers
here,
for each is a petal,
now
numbered in the thousands,
and spreading our arms and legs abreast of the Earth
in magnanimous hug,
we will not commit consistency with this landscape,
nor be swallowed up in congress with the life in which we nestle
our heads with delight.
For we vibrate severe waveforms from our edges,
which boggle Mother Nature,
spreading Her dust and frosted plants in helicopter liftoff,

Hurrah! We flower in winter! Our feathers are genius!


North Shore - Jess on a Walk
-John Kwock, M11


Notre Dame
-Lindsay Voss, M12


Red
-Arthi Venkat, M12


Rueful Rage
-Maki Sato, M12


Arlington Cemetery
-William Dishong, M10


Colorado Sunset
-William Dishong, M10


DC Blossoms
-Maki Sato, M12