First Code

First Code

When we rush in to find you pulseless,

I already know I will remember you

in a blaze of colors. The cells that choke your blood

have left your body vivid – a lilac rash

dotting your hands, brown curls wild

against your yellow-gray skin. But I do not wish

to remember the blueberry hue

staining your freckled cheeks

or the way your limbs curl across the floor.

When they declare you at 12:19 PM,

it does not seem final. You have always

been one to declare yourself. It seems

they should need your consent. But

as you fade, we draw the curtain,

tuck the white blanket under your chin,

and turn out the light.

Allison Shen is a third-year medical student at the University of Rochester. Despite her chronic writer’s block, she dreams of becoming a physician-writer someday. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling. She has previously co-edited and been published in murmur and The Archive.

Photo by Eduard Militaru.

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