by Alyza Taguilaso
They thought the best way was to drill a hole
through the skull as the patient lay inert
on the operating table, eyes open and pinned to the ceiling
as the physician picks at his head, rearranging
the right folds of tissue so the illness knows
how it is now unwelcome, packs its bags, finds
its way to the exit. There were always risks,
of course. Science can only do so much.
The disease, surprised and aggrieved
by the sudden intrusion, quickly grabs memories
it has grown fond of. The ones it believes
are its own — like how a puddle pools
around the edges of a shoe as one lays still, avoiding
the sudden arrival of rain, a mother's voice cooing
a lullaby, the slow undoing of a maze of waves
from an old lover's hair. The loss of memory
is of course painless, necessary as the removal of bone
that began the procedure, leaving
the cranium to breathe, opened
to its softest pulp until all the ill air is good
as gone, and the flap of skin sewn back
as the good doctor lifts a gloved palm
to his sweaty forehead, declaring
the operation successful. The patient sighs
in relief; memories snatched, safely
sealed in the disease's suitcase,
sure as the sutures keeping
the skull shut.
Alyza Taguilaso is in her senior year of medicine at University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Inc. As a clinical clerk, she spends most of her time sewing sutures and trying to stay awake. Her poems have appeared in Paper Monster Press, the Kritika Kultura Anthology of New Philippine Writing in English, Under The Storm: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry, and the IYAS Anthology 2001-2010. She tends to a hedgehog called Mumu and a fat cat named Serafee. Alyza maintains a writing journal over at Speaking In Hushed Tones.
Photography: adapted from March 10th: Stormy Weather, by Kit.