By Elise Malecki

We board the van, coolers in hand
to perform our modern ritual,
no mention of the soul.

Hers was troubled.
She took pills intending never to wake up.
We meet her in the OR.

She has padding for her pressure points,
tape for her eyelids,
supplied out of habit, I guess.

The anesthesiologist keeps the vitals stable;
the cardiac surgeon secures the vessels and liberates the heart.
They both bid us good evening.

We continue with the harvest:
liver, kidneys, no pancreas today.
I silently thank her and close the wound.

Our patients are waiting.


Elise Malecki is a gastroenterologist in upstate New York who enjoys removing polyps from colons and writing confessional poetry.


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