The Daughter Performs An Autopsy On Her Own Sadness
by Caris Allen
it is really very easy if you don’t mind
the sight of blood. a y-shaped incision:
from the outer edge of each collar bone,
connected at the sternum & down
straight through the belly button.
layered like so,
and here is where she searches for
the cause, the root of this
the bones are milk-white, porous,
maybe the purest thing she’s ever seen.
untouched by daylight, hidden in the
dark of her body. so how did we get here?
she asks, cracking open her rib cage.
the beating heart, the breathing lungs,
the strangely moving stomach.
it is all too much.
or maybe not.
she slices a cross-section of an artery.
lovely blood carrier smashed flat between
two pieces of glass, secured beneath
a microscope. this close,
she sees cells & cells & cells.
one trillion copies copied one
trillion times. what is a mother cell?
what is a mother?
she repeats this activity with
her liver, her spleen, her intestines.
over & over, the same:
copies of copies, prints of prints,
impossible to trace back to their origins.
but there must be origins, right?
no such thing.
somewhere along evolution's line,
homo erectus become homo sapiens
with a blurry space in between.
maybe this is where
the sadness lives.
maybe this is where
the sadness is born.
quickly, on the edge of discovery,
she saws open her skull. inside,
a gelatinous lump, an unexplainably
intricate web of electrical wires.
which ones could i cut & still
be me? she wonders, scalpel in
hand. what am i but
a floating consciousness?
cogito ergo sum.
i think therefore i am
digging my own grave.
she puts all of her organs back
in order, sutures her skin shut.
turns out the sadness cannot be
removed like some bothersome
turns out she inherited this
long ago. turns out it has passed
cell to cell to cell
forever & will pass
Caris Allen is a student at the University of North Texas pursuing a BA in English. Her work has previously been featured in Austin Film Festival, The North Texas Review, Dirty Paws Poetry Review, and is upcoming in Gambling the Aisle and Riggwelter Press. You can find her online @2freckled.