Human Hands

(Dedicated to anyone who has lost someone and to the medical student who inevitably will)

She was too old not to know he was going away,
But too young to understand why he couldn’t stay.
“Myo…cardio…what?” she said with narrowed eyes
And a pouting little lip that would accept no lies.

“But if he’s in heaven,” she asked with a frown,
“Then why are they putting him down in the ground?”
How could I explain that mysterious plan
In which life and death are beyond the power of human hands?

Is “Happily Ever After” just a cliché of fiction?
Is life just a lease with a guaranteed eviction?
Why can’t we dictate the how and the who and the when
Of the story of life and its inevitable end?

I’m charged with maintaining a temple more sacred than any chapel,
My teacher is experience; my weapon is the scalpel.
With surreal expectations, my patients will look to me,
Blinded to the human hands behind the MD.

We’re all made of earth, and we’ll all one day return,
And it’s taken many stumbles to finally learn
That the best way to enjoy life is, frankly, to live.
And the quickest route to forever is simply to give

Of the soul and the self and the internal light.
We see people best when we don’t look by sight.
Life is enjoying the journey, not making it to the end,
It’s enduring all the damage, using human hands to mend–

Through the lives we encounter, the hearts that we touch,
A smile or kind gesture, it need not be much.
A candle dies not when the wax is all gone;
It perpetuates simply by passing the flame on.

Through the tiny flicker burning inside of me,
I’ve uncovered the secret of immortality.
I will do what I can, for my light is divine
And make each day special with these human hands of mine.

Jessica Lenore, Urbana-Champaign, Class of 2006