and adam fell into a deep sleep

Vinu Rao, M1, Class of 2024



from the dust emerged a swirling cyst of layers

tumbling into one another

until the father’s hands enveloped the incomplete.


his fingers laced together tight,

a squeeze away from crushing it all

and starting all over again,

he breathed and knew

he had formed

a seal his children cannot help but break.



the children of god

burned and crushed and uprooted

flowers and trees of Eden

to find what will maim and disfigure

their naked bodies

the world would have heard their screams

when that which was whole

became broken,

if only they hadn’t learned

how to shoot the messenger

before he could reach the crown



I used to think that the skin stretched tight around the chest would fly apart when cut, like two ends of a rubber band right as it breaks. There were no fluttering curtains to reveal pale white ribs at home, 

shocked and shy to see the light of day. Rather, the layers sag when cleaved apart and spurt red like a drooling mouth. Gloved fingers twist slippery flaps of the incision taut for the cauterizer to separate the mess of pink and yellow inside. The fascia is studded by nerves, like tripwires placed to make it nearly as sensitive as the skin. Yet, no alarm rings and the ventilator continues to sigh. A trap planted deep inside my own body is sprung.



don’t lock your legs

(if it becomes too much)

tense your calves and thighs to squeeze the blood back up

(if it becomes too much)

put your head between your knees

(if it becomes too much)


of course, it’s shame I feel upon waking up to my world tilted further on its axis,

in sight of blood lifting through clear tubes

that rise from the yawning chest

of a man lying upon a vaulted altar,


that I lay prostrated below

with blood pooling in my mouth.


pay attention to the hands,

not the person underneath them.



at my worst,

I feel that I am no longer a student

but a voyeur to the blunting of senses.

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