Genevieve Manset: Difference Between the Heart and Brain

Fall '10 TOC

1.

essentially the eyes reside
above the brain stem

not unlike
a jaguar in the canopy
occasionally
flicking her tail

or ants storming trees looking for tiny birds
of thought
which they will carry back
in pieces, a crackling river

while vinca invades, entangles,
violet flowers open to
rain that is suddenly falling

I wake up, wondering
at the sound
after a month of silent snow

2.

brain, like the heart
is only a piece of meat
although cut in half

optic nerve spans cranium, 
splits at the chiasma, behind the thalamus
pours into primary
visual cortex (a river, a fiber)

how we prepare for travel informs
how we prepare for death
 
I am packing, unpacking
making lists

3.

the tumor has grown into your optic nerve
you are ending treatment

this thought

a hand crafted illustration
in half-tone carried in the mouths
of neurotransmitters
to the nest of my brain

which tells my heart I love you

4.

how does the brain differ from the heart?
both are chunks of meat
we carry from one room to the next

5.

jaguar dissolves, becomes
shadow of leaves

rain comes hard, sudden
I run around, shut windows

windows that are already shut

6.

subject of our eyes is only light
comes in broken, patched objects

upside down projected
to the visual cortex
where our brains make meaning
against the back of our skull

stare at the shadows in a tree
in time
they become a jaguar
whether one is there or not

7.

surgeon opens the brain, as he opened
this morning's paper

left of the fold,
an op ed piece
on the war on terror, to the right

an ad for designer jeans
two girls entangled with each other
almost kissing

8.

the brain is a muscle with two hemispheres
it has its own geography

gyrus, fissures, ramus equals a branch as in
a river

there is pruning in early ontogeny
perhaps insufficient

something to worry about, to those who know
the difference
between the heart and the brain

still

whether windows are closed or not closed
rain, eventually
makes it to the sea

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