Examination

I got the news earlier this afternoon in the coffeeshop but only had my iPad at hand.

Anyhoo, the nice folks over at Free Press featured my poem “Examination“.

Yay! It’s also amusingly timely as I am having exams this week.

Do click the link if you have the time. I had fun making that piece. Let me know what you think.

Also- dedicated to my dearest medschool friends.

(…who are fighting the fight- we have 8 more exams to go. Pediatrics went down with a bang this morning. In a few hours it’s Pathology hooheehoo I have so much to read plumbum kulchitsky cell, wish me luck!)

I hope everyone pulls through exams. All righty, that’s all for now. Byebye!

Medschool, et cetera

They say you should be happy where you are: thankful for the opportunity to pore over an endless number of chapters discussing the human body – its innervations and makings, because not everyone gets to do this, what you do, et cetera.

Not everyone gets the chance to earn about the failures of the human condition this thoroughly, they say. It is good for your future, a lot of people will want you, will need you, et cetera.

Spend every morning inhaling the smell of the dead like it were sunflowers blooming over the remains of a demolished house, unpack the five or so books from your heavy bag into your locker and let them rest with the three dissecting kits you’ve gotten used to leaving, all the while mindful of greeting the dead “good morning”, reminding them they are dead, blessed, and granted eternal sleep much to the advantage of students like yourself who would later on in the day proceed to slice them to bits for the greater cause of learning, et cetera.

It always sounds simple – to say “happy” and “chance”, assuming they run on intersecting lines as anything you’re made to do from now on. The arteries and veins you have to memorize, imagine them in your own body while suppressing the urge to slit through your own skin, see what’s inside, how you work, make it all much easier. Repeat as necessary, et cetera.

Trepanation

They thought the best way was to drill a hole
through the skull as the patient lay inert

on the operating table, eyes open and pinned to the ceiling
as the physician picks at his head, rearranging

the right folds of tissue so the illness knows
how it is now unwelcome, packs its bags, finds

its way to the exit. There were always risks,
of course. Science could only do so much.

The disease, surprised and aggrieved
from being sent away, takes with it memories

it has grown fond of. The ones it believes
are its own – like the first feel of rain

on a summer afternoon, the sound
of a deceased mother’s voice, the color

of an old lover’s hair, a list of desires
the patient chose to keep secret. The loss of memory

is of course painless and necessary as the removal of bone
that began the procedure, leaving

the cranium to breathe, opened
to its softest pulp until all the ill air is good

as gone, and the sheet of cut skin sewn back
as the good doctor lifts a gloved palm

to his sweaty forehead, declaring
the operation successful. The patient sighs

in relief; the gaps in memory unapparent
as the sutures keeping the skull closed.

And who could blame them for believing
in the strangest of solutions?

I. Anatomy Class

We know so little of these bodies: these people
with their faces clothed in gauze, skin

hard and crusted to the color of earth,
stiff and prone on steel beds. Unyielding

as we slice out new wounds
with unpracticed knives, exposing

one muscle after another, feeling
through gloved hands the hardness

of bone, leaving the necessary markings as we make our way
through each appendage, turning the cut parts into paths

we would need to retrace later on
in the roofs of our skulls, every dissected limb

floating as a name: faceless,
without a body.

Continue reading

Anatomy

suggests that, in order to grasp
the secrets of our bodies, we must strip
sinew from bone, slice off stray clumps

of fat, peeling the tiny folds of muscle: exposing
fossa, foramen, and each precise groove
of skeleton glistening white amidst the remains

of blood: dried specks, rusting. Inconsequential
as the ghost floating by the steel table, witnessing
his body unmoving, obliging to being opened,

his invisible eyes widening, perplexed
as the scalpel continues its scraping, unused
to the absence of pain.

Continue reading

Antiself to self

We now know that every particle has an antiparticle, with which it can annihilate. There could be whole antiworlds and antipeople made of antiparticles. However, if you meet your antiself, don’t shake hands! You would both vanish in a great flash of light.

– Stephen Hawking “A Brief History of Time”

Poetry – why are you always so fascinated
with poetry? There is no need for that,
where I’m from. We have no reason
to mourn things. We know so little

of sadness, doors slamming
far too often. My family is kind,
raised me around affection. See,
in this world, there are no shadows.

We have a hundred suns, warming
every corner of the earth. The buildings:
wide and without doors, no reason
to close in on anything, anyone. Everything is open,

this is how I can see you, dear sister self, brimming
with shadows I was spared from. In our homes
we have tiny mirrors revealing things
as they will never be. So always,

I see you: furiously writing
about how there are so few stars
above your dying sky. Your eyes lucid
with thoughts of distance,

the kind no amount of traveling will bridge,
your frail hands, shivering as you write
about the past – how easily it slips through our fingers
like water.
Sometimes I pray for the mirror to break

so you can see a sliver of brightness, how warm
our bodies are, how it is possible to live
without some invisible weight tugging at your chest.
If I could, I would pull you away from your poetry,

but at the slightest touch I know we will vanish
into light, so I leave, return
to the smiling faces, find a reason
to explain this sadness.