Last summer saw the publication of the third volume of Murmurs, a literary journal edited by students at the School of Medicine. The journal includes poems, essays, short stories, photographs, and works of art by medical students, nursing students, students in the Physician Associate program, postdocs, residents, and an alumnus. We include here a poem and short story by two medical students.

Revive

By Wyatt Hong

Remember, five years ago, when you were still alive?
My arm on your blanket, your face pillowed on my arm,
We watched the summer clouds almost move.
Sitting up for your chemo, you were so brave
The nurses called you Captain. Nothing could do you harm.
Remember, five years ago, when you were still alive?
Looking at your brown eyes, I did not believe
That you would die. Your breath warm on my arm,
We watched the summer clouds almost move.
Each time I bathed you, I remembered to save
A clump of your falling hair as some sort of charm.
Remember, five years ago? You were still alive.
Every dawn, I would pray for you to survive
Until the doctors came. Hearing them swarm,
We watched the summer clouds almost move.
There will never be summer. Life has no more to give.
But what does that matter. I am here. Touch my arm.
Remember. Five years ago, when you were still alive,
We watched the summer clouds almost move.

This poem by Wyatt Hong was a 2015–2016 Marguerite Rush-Lerner Creative Writing Contest Winner.

Bibi

By Jessica Greenberg

It was 8 a.m. when Bibi turned on the sink to fill the kettle. While waiting for it to boil, she went out front to retrieve the newspaper like she did every morning. The house was almost empty. Her two grandchildren were living in New York, her daughter had begun her early morning commute on NJ Transit, and her son-in-law was just getting out of the shower before driving to the nearby university to teach physics. Rex, the family dog, had died over three years ago, but Bibi had still not adjusted to life with no warm beings around. In fact, Bibi still had not adjusted to life in suburban America even though she narrowly escaped Romania more than 25 years ago. In fact, Bibi wasn’t sure she had ever felt at home. It was this she thought about as she stepped out the front door into the icy wind, the screen door clanging shut behind her. Some smell in the wind rushed her mind in reverse, and suddenly she saw herself at a small wooden kitchen table, staring out the window, watching little flakes fall to the ground, while her mother cooked eggs from the coop for breakfast. A neighbor’s dog barked and Bibi was brought back to the current everlasting winter. She stepped down to grab the blue-bagged New York Times, but her slippered right foot slid along the frictionless ice, and she fell forward. Her arms not quick enough to break her fall, her head did instead, smacking against the powdered front walkway. The kettle whistled, and her son-in-law pulled on his heavy winter jacket. When the kettle screamed, he called out “Bibi, your water is ready!” and switched off the stove, opened the back door, walked to his car, and backed out of the driveway.

Jessica Greenberg’s story was inspired by a friend who works in the medical field and was responsible for her grandmother’s end-of-life care.