To a Body Donor
There is still a silence, just for a moment,
when we approach you. The skin on your shins
has become thin, like Bible paper,
and young women you have never met
handled you gently like a borrowed thing
to give you back to yourself
when they were done. Through curtains
of bone and muscle, in our hands
your heart saw light as though it had just been born,
new to our sight, and yet we do not know
if you wore glasses or had a sweet tooth.
With every cut, you depart from us,
and what we learn of you cannot hold
your interest, cannot compare to the astonishment
you see behind the blinded blue of your eyes.
Adam Lalley is a physician in New York City. He is a winner of the Michael E. DeBakey Poetry Award and the William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition. His writing has appeared in ACEP Now, The Healing Muse, STAT, and the Journal of Medical Humanities.
This poem was originally published in the Fall 2020 issue of Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine (www.theintima.org).
Adam Lalley MD