The hardest day with the cadaver wasn’t bisecting 

eyes, unpeeling genitals, or sawing through skull to the muted

corrugated brain within, but dissecting hands.

Last night I dreamt of tendon-strung puppets 

heavily-lined palms, nails chewed

to the quick

each cut between hands so close to the bone.

Today a bear left tracks along the river

pressing each step into glacial silt

fine as bone dust 

familiar as symmetry.

A reminder: How shoulders 

are a sunlit current. How hands

are creased like maps

folded to the size of our heart.

This is an invitation: To not cut ourselves out 

of this story

to explore the worlds within whorls

each a topography of soul. For a moment my hand fits both 

around the scalpel and 

here, in the sand.

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