May 6, 2018

Matthew Murrey

PIG BRAIN

Kept alive. Thoughtless.
What if it was thinking?
In the thirties, under Stalin,
dogs’ severed heads were vivified—
swallowed, blinked, flinched.
So what is black and white,
and what is gray? Pigs
are raised without sun or wind,
except on the way to slaughter.
There was a pig’s brain
removed from the stall of its skull
and bathed in a concoction
of warm and artificial blood.
Thirty-six hours they kept it
from death. That’s a start.
Dog to pig to whom? And what
is the life span of pity?
In English we call, thoughtless,
the worst among us pigs.

from Poets Respond

[download audio]

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Matthew Murrey: “A week ago I saw an article on the BBC describing how scientists at MIT were able to keep the brains of pigs alive ‘using a system of pumps, heaters, and bags of artificial blood.'” (web)

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