The Head Block
In anatomy lab today we are faced
With the aftermath of a revolution.
The French, in one sense. Heads
Of cadavers severed and displaced
From bodies onto wooden blocks.
The usual coup of medical school.
Now we learn the cranial nerves,
And meanwhile set aside the box
Of ideas about the mind inside
The brain encased in skull behind
Her eyes, thankfully still cloaked
By a paper drape left limply tied.
They cut off her head but not mine,
And mine is experiencing the physics
Of a feeling about dying. It is gravity
Circling into the reality of this resign
From humankind to organic matter.
She is gone despite the formaldehyde
Fixing her husk like a bug in amber.
To the students buzzing with chatter
She is a history of memories we
Will never remember. This is messy.
The mind-body dichotomy is false-
Ish. Give me a moment to notice
Her lips are chapped. I stop to think
She left her lipstick at home didn't she.
Did she leave a daughter? A letter?
What didn't she write in genes or ink?
My questions swell to fill the sac
We zip her into at the end of class.
It is customary to let them dissipate
Instead of ask, but I turn back
Or rather, I am pulled by a new force.
If it is rebellion to grieve, I will revolt.
The tragedy would be twice if I ceded
My core to rigor for this course.