For Med17: Thank you.

I find a glimmer of light.
It is the shape of a keyhole
and wavers. I crawl
blindly in a sudden desperate desire
to find the lock
and the source of light that is behind it.
The keys in my pocket jangle.

When I am in the hospital I am a stranger
amongst other strangers. Only
because I am wearing a white coat
I am supposed to know where
to go. The hallways bustle with white noise.
I hug myself and move quickly so no one
can see me shaking.

There are several keys in my pocket.
Keys made to open to secure
to keep safe to rescue.
Keys that are purposeful and always always
come with a lock. But there
one key is still being formed
is new and raw
is lockless.

The streets are full of ice
and wherever I step
the dark glimmer cracks.
I feel that if I am not careful
I may miscalculate a step and then
the crystal surface of my confidence
will collapse, will bring me ankle-deep
in barely frozen water rushing unintuitively upwards
rising into my socks past my white coat
soaking my barely used scrubs
ice-water surging towards my knees
femur gasping in its acetabulum
thoracic spine shaking
like a suffocating fish.
I am drowning in the thought that
I am not enough.
The snowbanks drip in the sunlight
and sparkle.

I sit amidst all my past and present identities
and begin to make out a new one ahead.
It is mirrored in the M4s: knowledgeable mature
scruffy in a responsible doctor-like way.
Will I too become like them?
I am not afraid of how I might change but rather
what I will lose after a year in the hospital.
The lock to my growing key remains unknown.
And yet, I sense its existence—
a path of light filtering through the darkness
towards me…

…and you too. Your light
your key
your lock
our journey.

Med17: thank you
for the past two years
and for the years to come.
I have my key in one hand
and your hands in the other
as we search for our hidden locks together. We walk
and look and celebrate when one of us finds a lock that fits
that opens up a bright new world of excitement.
Where will you be?
Where will I? Only time and walking and sharing together will tell.
And the doors one day will open
leading to new rooms and new doors
and our keys will jangle
like the sound of clapping hands
like the sound of many smiles
breaking ice.


Featured image courtesy of Stephanie Wang Zuo

By Stephanie Wang Zuo

Stephanie Wang Zuo is a member of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Class of 2017. She hails from Long Island, NY and completed her bachelor's degree in Chemical and Physical Biology at Harvard College. She took so many English classes though, that she found herself minoring in English.

In her spare time, Stephanie can be found at the yoga studio, reading a novel or book of poetry, cooking, or spending time with her husband. She will never say no to a game of Ultimate Frisbee and is always finding excuses to go outside and "enjoy the nice weather." One of her greatest pleasures is resting in the sound and subtle meanings of words.

"If you become a writer you'll be trying to describe the 'thing' all your life: and lucky if, out of dozens of books, one or two sentences, just for a moment, come near to getting it across." (C.S. Lewis)

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