For what it’s worth

Posted by on 04.25.09 | 6 Comments
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I guess I couldn’t stay away too long…

Today I simply need an audience for a moment. I am on my way in a few minutes to the memorial service held each year for the individuals who have dedicated their bodies, after death, to the Body Donor Program of the Anatomy Department. For the past few months, I have spent hours each week examining and discovering and finding things in, around and about the body of a man whose name I do not know. I was asked to write a reflection for the memorial service, and this is what I wrote. I am sharing this with you because, in addition to simply wanting to share, my piece was cut from the service on grounds that it too honestly describes the journey on which my body donor and I have been.

My person (I shamelessly project) and I would like our poem to be read by someone. So, for what it’s worth…

I call you my person

When I met you, I began patting your arm, discretely, telling you, us, silently, “It’ll be ok, you won’t feel a thing.”

You haven’t shaved today, I think.

Pectoralis major, my first muscle. The pillow of your last love, and her tiny dog.

Were you an officer, a gentleman? Your back grew tired, I see. But your kidneys still shine.

What happens to a woman when she begins to admire another’s organs?

You never knew how your parts knitted together over the years, nearly inseparable now.

I’ll never know how you knitted those years together.

Those cigars you never stopped smoking, the wife you never stopped loving.

Salty foods snuck at night, a daughter lost, a granddaughter raised.

Or, you were someone else completely. Or, it is not my place to imagine.

I cannot conjure your heartbeat, so I do mine, and thank it for beating.

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