January 7, 2010

Mario Chard

ON THE QUESTION OF WHAT DRIVES CORONARY CIRCULATION, BIOLOGY CLASS, MORGAN HIGH SCHOOL, 1999

Because it seemed sensible then
to ask, considering the compounds
we discussed, how process coursed
on to further process as curtains parting
backward, I took his silence as a sign
of reflection. Then Mr. Mowery,
with all the steady grace of a man
who knew the sacrifice of his responses,
who must have regretted the analogy
of the body’s inner-workings to a city’s
infrastructure, decided instead to answer
with his eyes, the first true look he ever gave
directly, leaving me to wonder
how he could have sensed the deeper inquiry
of a student who only questioned
the function of arteries, one who learned
too late, perhaps, while mapping the bloodlines
back to the drum of their source,
that every new study of the body must lead
to this same fear, sustained by the memory
I then recalled of a night preceding Christmas,
my mother alone in the living room,
dressing the tree she redeemed from a box
in the corner, and I who could not sleep
beside her, watching her restore the order
of branches and needles, threading its limbs
with tubes and colored lanterns,
bulbs of light and streaming fluid,
so that I turned startled by that illumination,
held her side until the rushing of those
lights had ceased and I could fall asleep.

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009