Off the Shelf
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Alive


rivers of blood
dried
by formaldehyde

our gloved fingers
trace the path
they used to flow

the smell of
excitement and
anxiety
diffuses across the lab

we tug, pull,
slice, snip
saw through bone
never realized how
destructive this would be

but we remember
the purpose
of all this breaking down
is building up our knowledge

I look down and
a classmate whispered
our first patient

tattoos
tufts of hair
surgical incisions
wrinkles

pieces of him remain
showing only a snapshot
of seventy years

he teaches
without saying a word

hours pass
daylight wanes
we exit
talk about dinner plans
talk about school
talk about the weekend

life goes on
as we zip the bodies up again
did we already forget
they used to live among
the land of the living?

but I linger behind
I do not want to forget

here is my prayer of gratitude
just to be here
in this moment
alive

Anna Delamerced Anna Delamerced (11 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University


Anna Delamerced is a fourth-year medical student at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island class of 2021. She graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in public health. She enjoys writing poetry and is passionate about advocating for kids as a future pediatrician.