Tense

Lawren VandeVrede
University of Illinois, Chicago, United States (Summer 2009)

I stand in a room where over
half of the people are dead.
Students stand like vultures
over corpses barely identifiable as human.
Lieska stalks like a reaper between the tables
culling fascia and fat.
But death is not present in the room.
Death has come and done his grisly work,
ripping holes in life.
All that is left in the present is the dead.
The past tense of humanity.
The future of medicine stands over them.
The anatomy lab is a place where
the living learn from the dead,
but not where the living learn of death.
That will be done in smaller rooms filled
with crying spouses and distant-eyed friends.
In a low voice we will explain the
Inevitable arrival of the unwanted guest.


LAWREN VANDEVREDE is an MD/PhD student at University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Mr. VandeVrede grew up in a small town in Michigan and moved to Florida where he provided care for his grandparents as his grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. After attaining a degree in Chemistry and a degree in Biology at Florida State University, he moved to Illinois to get the training necessary to do work in Alzheimer’s research. He hopes to continue finding outlets for artistic expression as he moves into the field of scientific investigation.

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