Prize Winners 2006

On Subway

On Subway by Peter Arrazola

Peter Arrazola, Class of 2009

About a Doctor


It might have begun
With the sweet epiphany
Early third year
That weeks can slide by
Sweep past in a blur
when I conceive
of anybody crush worthy
to keep my spirits alight
my heart in flight
any reason
to contemplate
which scrubs best suit
my cafecito skin tone
pale blues or
dark greens
yes, this question took away
some of the hospital heavy
and made things light.
True, it might have begun
With the crushingmakestheweeksflyby
Theory of relativity,
But perhaps not.

It might have begun with
Your simple request
To call you Joaquin

Your desire to be
A colleague
Totem pole low
Same plane
Same team
As me.
Your will
For a certain proximity
A familiarity
Unbuffered by the
Polished certainty
Of your
Yes, it might have begun
With that act of humility,
But perhaps not.

But certainly what clinched it
put whipped cream
chopped nuts
colored sprinkles
maraschino on top to boot
Was not the silver strands
Peppering your until-now brown head
Or the chipmunk sweetness of your eyes
Or the argentinian lilt of your Spanish
That makes each sentence roll off your tongue
a poem

What sealed the deal
Was the way
You explained to her
What a met to the brain meant
And waited
Let silence esconce the room
Gave her space to absorb
And think
And talk of her 3 little children
And weep
And speak of fear and death
And ask you about the end
And question god’s motive
And I thanked god
In that moment
It was you
Who happened to be her doctor
And not somebody
Who would wonder
How to say tumor
In Spanish
And you held her gaze
And squeezed her leg
And passed her Kleenex
And I remember
How it took my breath away
So pitch perfect
Like watching a gymnast
stick the landing
For a perfect ten
End in gold
yes, it was the moment
when you accomplished the feat
of being a human being
who just happened to be wearing a white coat
and there were no cheers
and no podium
and no award
and no medal
and all I have
to commemorate that moment
is this poem.

Dipti Barot, Class of 2006

The Catfish

I am a scavenger slicing through your tricky waters
the outline of my oscillations are all you can see
in this murky riverbed
I dance
surviving on your debris
I hear you whisper bottomfeeder
as you send me away to
retrieve equipment – a sterile speculum
collect information – 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you have ever felt
retract, suction, cut and
order food – don’t even ask
I know who I am
my cool fleshy belly scrapes along the gravel floor
I have been here before
In 7th grade
after a break-up
on the first day of school
Do you know who I am?
Don’t worry about me
my silvery scales are new and untarnished
my tail is strong and I have a long way to go
I am ready
it’s okay if you leave my name off the operative note
because as I glide away
And you catch a glimpse of me slipping
through the morning’s sun rays
remember that you are my teacher and
we will swim together one day
very soon.

Cassie Frank, Class of 2007