the healing muse

Volume 8, 2008

Lessons

Julia Calagiovanni

Today, we learned
            that the Chinese believe that a tiny fetus lies, cramped and
                    curled, inside the ear
            that the popping sound when the chiropractor shoves your bones
                    around is just little gas pockets, newly released,
                    celebrating their freedom
            that skinny little acupuncture needles don’t hurt—that much.
I’m not sure I believe it.

But I do believe that the gall bladder is green
— amid all that mushy, fleshy beige and oozy pink and red—
because I saw it today
hiding there under the liver,
nestled above the stomach,
snuggling up to the pancreas,
dull but unmistakably green.

Excuse me, why is the gall bladder green?

Bile is green.

Oh.

Today I saw the gall bladder of a man
with soft arms
and yellowed toenails
and fine, dark hair on his shins.

And I believe him, this headless, anonymous, deceased stranger
—him and his anatomical gift
in a way that I could never believe my anatomy coloring book.

Questions about this poem can be found on our Reader's Guide Volume 8

Return to Table of Contents, Volume 8, 2008.

Upcoming Events

Submissions:

Accepted annually September 1 through May 1.