Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mr. Bill

"He's an excellent specimen," says the professor.
"You're really good at this" say my lab partners as they decline to do anything but watch.
And they're right.  I am good at dissection.
It unnerves me how easily I slip into a clinical mode,
how interested I am in the structures revealed by the scalpel.
And Mr. Bill is an excellent specimen.
I don't want to lose sight that what lies in front of me
was once a sentient being, alive and purring.
So I named him.
And I apologize, and thank him.
And I talk to him as I learn from his remains.
And so do my lab partners.
He must have been a good hunter, says Dennis.
I hope someone loved him, says Mai. 
Mr. Bill probably took down squirrels, says Jenny.
We aren't callus. We handle him gently.  
I imagine that Mr. Bill is in some beautiful meadow 
full of mice and squirrels and other fun things.
I imagine that he has friends.
I hope he knows that he mattered.
That because of him,  there are six future nurses who have a better understanding of how bodies work.
And that we promise to pay his gift forward by helping people with what we learned from him.
I picture him sunning himself, basking in a contented pile with Ursa, Mr. Steve, Stumpy and Miss Puppy.  
Then I go to work.  And then home.
And Duncan and Lulu rush to greet me.  As I snuggle them I say silently
"This is for you too, Mr. Bill".