Thursday, May 2, 2019

Staring at a Student Staring at the Cadaver in Class by Ron Riekki

I skulk behind a skeleton, not

at all hidden, but hidden, and
her eyes sweep over the skull

of a woman who gave her body
to science, except we keep
confusing carotid and parotid,

keeping our shirts tugged up
to our noses to avoid the smell
of our futures, the way that life
whips us into strange lives where
we cannot believe where we are,

who we are with, this woman
whose chest no longer has a rib-
cage, it lying next to her, the heart
hard, visible, and I watch her eyes,
the eyes of the woman still breathing,
and I wonder if I see a tear, but it’s not;
it’s a sort of awe at medicine that makes
me love people, love our heartbeats.

Ron Riekki wrote U.P.: a novel and Posttraumatic: A Memoir, and edited Undocumented, The Many Lives of The Evil Dead, And Here, Here, and The Way North. He has books upcoming with Main Street Rag, Loyola University Maryland’s Apprentice House Press, McFarland, and Wayne State University Press.

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