a surgeon’s geography

her brain is open

on the table

and she is conscious

talking with the surgeon

you can hear their voices on the tape

as the camera focuses on the tiny stimulator

that touches on the surface

of the gray matter:

here, she weeps

there, she is joyous

here, she loses speech

there, it returns

one moment her words are clear, focused

at the next, her words confused

she is lost, muddled

her tongue thick

and struggling

this is a surgeon’s geography

mountains and valleys

elusive regions of eloquent cortex

complex neurological pathways

a cartographer’s challenge

think the mapping of movement


think the mapping of curved space

reduced to squares, lines

think what can be touched

what is certain

and what is not


Hospital Drive, Summer 2012.