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College of Medicine Alumni Magazine - Winter 2017/2018 13 Body Parts

Inspired by "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens

Candice Mazon, class of 2019, won second place in the 35th annual William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition, sponsored by the Department of Family & Community Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University, and was invited to read her poem at the awards ceremony.

Caterpillars have made
a home in my stomach,
but they never quite make it out of their cocoons.

My neck is a history book;
it has a tendency to look back.

My eyes are two moths
always circling another person's light,
hypnotized by their glow.
Sometimes, I forget that I can close them.

My skin is Ellis Island—
everyone I meet
has left their fingerprints.
Do I only serve as a transition?

In the middle of the night,
my lungs become a jukebox,
and exhaling
to the rhythm of songs
no one listens to anymore.

I carved every curve
of my body
from an olive branch.
When I showed it to people,
some hit the ground running
because they confused it for a weapon.

But these bones are made of clay;
an unfinished statue.
I still have my flaws
but I'm getting closer
to who I'm supposed to be.

My scars are renovations.
They only add value to the home.

My back is a match,
ready to burn bridges
of broken promises.
I'm not afraid to walk away

My head is a soldier,
knee-deep in the trenches.
Fighting for some dream.
Fighting for survival.

My mouth is a freight train.
I'm sorry if I'm not silent
but I have places to go.

My hands are open wide
like doors on its hinges.
If you want to come in,
you can.

My heart is the North Star.
Every beat is a step forward—
I have been following it for miles
hoping it'll lead me to some heaven.
I am lost.
But I refuse to stop walking.

First published by Journal of Medical Humanities (online August 31, 2017). Copyright © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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