Third-year medical student Sean McEvoy has won first place in the William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition. More than 250 poems were submitted to the national competition, which is open to students enrolled in colleges of medicine or osteopathy.
“I was totally surprised and honored to get the news. I stopped writing during the first two years of medical school and seeing the flyer for this contest made me get back to it,” McEvoy said. “Given the challenges of third year and how hard working in real-world medicine is, I am glad that I have an outlet to reflect on what we go through during our time as new doctors.”
McEvoy’s poem was inspired by a patient he cared for at Banner – University Medical Center who was diagnosed with lymphoma. Against medical advice, the patient abruptly decided to leave the hospital rather than die in it.
In April, McEvoy will travel to Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) to conduct a reading and meet other winners of the competition. He will also receive a small cash prize.
Poems were judged on the basis of craftsmanship, originality and content. The annual competition is sponsored by the Department of Family and Community Medicine at NEOMED.
Read McEvoy’s winning poem below:
When I Saw the Table
Under a bright quilt and
shadowed cup of sunflowers golden
red, I thought it was a place
worthy to wait for death.
A plate of fruit and thin slice
of cake so patient and
loving, just for me, beside the
sugar dish and cream. It seemed only fair
to eat slow and sit, and
I remembered the man — sick,
given a few weeks to live
as his throat closed itself.
He decided to leave unannounced.
Lines on the floor
and a trail of blood drops down to Broadway –
He never came back. I imagine
a mountain, a forest, and maybe a
great stone slab on which to lie,
hearing the buzzing shapes of insects
as I sat still,
calmly becoming an offering myself.