Visceral

Pertaining to the organs,

in the body, not the immense pipe organ upstairs

 

of the congregation of my grandmother’s Lutheran church

 

but just as intense, and that instrument penetrated my body

 

surgically.

I was taking anatomy and physiology towards a medical coding degree

 

and a stable day job,

describing how we copied pictures and plastic models

 

though not cadavers

 

while he had me drawing a cow skull in charcoal

 

to distract him from his feelings I talked about the organ systems

I was learning.

The heart, huh? he said. And the lungs

 

I replied quickly in one breath.

I drew him the pancreas and put it in an envelope, said

 

Happy birthday

 

And the professor brought in a real heart

 

ripped from a dead man’s chest

 

for us to examine.

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