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Ms. Metaphysics


I am sitting in school
but I am also thinking of you.

Yes, I do
wonder how consciousness
wraps round and round
this hunk of meat,
how chunks of flesh
sustain your metaphysical feat.

I am learning your true essence.
I want to make you myelin.
Will we be together against the odds?
Am I seeing your soul
or just the works and days
of some cones and rods?

It’s nice how the hyaline formed
the hyacinth shape of your bones.
I want my image to engrave
upside down, right
on the retina
Just for your brain to flip.

I wonder what else
your brain could twist. I inquire into the ionic
nature of your love and fear
my mind bends sordid.

“You called me the Grishkin girl.
You said I was your shadow fading at sunset.
I would come to you when dark contours coalesce.
Now, your once forbidden medicine
is easing the fever of the flesh.
Remark the cranial nerves that once made her smile.
Then let my pheromones circumambulate, let them charm the
formaldehyde from your senses for a while.”

“Or what about me, Master of Melancholy?
You said I was your shadow rising to kiss you at noon.
You said it was a brave, holy thing, human thing
To love me, to love what science can touch.
Now, your blue lotuses offer only desultory dances and anxious glances.
Remember when Prufrock did not take his chances?
In the end, you promised to ponder less on action potentials
and more on the potential of your actions.”

Never mind, let us go you and I
to lay under our origins in the sky
like cadavers embalmed on the table.

Maybe we can take a quaint stroll
through vacant streets
like my old college town in the summer;
They are caught in a streetlamp synthesis,
stained lunar silver.
I fear nowadays
they’ll wind like a disease
of insidious intent.

Sorry, I’ll finally snap out of it — or into it.

Darling, how will I maintain our romance,
knowing the skeleton beneath
thy beautiful surface?
Consider the taxidermist, striving
to preserve the skin,
the tender bobcat grin
of the animate.

Image credit: “Medical Illustration Still Life” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by trustypics


Poetry Thursdays is an initiative that highlights poems by medical students. If you are interested in contributing or would like to learn more, please contact our editors.


John Newman John Newman (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Emory University School of Medicine


John is a third-year medical student at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA class of 2022. In 2017, he graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology. He enjoys playing soccer, going on runs around town, and reading/writing poems in his free time. After graduating medical school, John would like to pursue a career in either neuropathology or emergency medicine.