Gross Anatomy

August 27, 20171 min read

Every medical student, at some point in their training, will take a class in which they are assigned a cadaver to take apart. It is done as a means of offering students “hands on,” experiential learning.

“I have a friend who is taking this class – “Gross Anatomy” – and he said this: ‘You get desensitized. By week four you hardly remember that this was a human. It doesn’t even look human, it is just a body.’

My poem is an attempt at processing this small horror. This reduction of human life into a single toxicology report.

The difference between us
is the color of our gallbladders:

hers, neon green, the color of sick,
mine, robins egg, is throbbing blue

and deathless. Empty
mouthed. Nothing

is as humbling as a human
heart in the hands.

Nothing as troubling as cross section
of knuckles – wrenched ampersands

exposing embolism in radial artery.
Or lateral lines splicing hips. I know how

to parse quaternary vein. Salvation
pulsed into left femur. This blood knew

how to stain a gospel. “Look, here
is clavicle,” I say, reaching

towards my own neck – common
denominator. Sometimes, I forget

that it is cadaver and this is nothing
more than pathology.


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Jasmine Cui

Jasmine Cui is 18 years old and is majoring in Political Science, Economics, and Chemistry at SUNY Geneseo. She aspires to be like her parents who are first-generation Americans that fought an extraordinary battle for their place in this country. Jasmine is the Founder and Co-EIC of The Ellis Review — a literary platform for emerging writers.

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