Cover Photo- "Almond Blossoms" by Vincent Van Gogh
Five Gallon Bucket
I sat alone in the gallery when they wheeled him in A baby, one-year-old to be exact, laid cold and lifeless Light tan skin, inky black hair, naked on the examination table His face was ever so cherubic and sweet, as if he were napping.
The medical examiners began to cut a deep “Y” into his chest, Like the scalpel was cutting through butter.
They cracked through his ribs, no shears required Pulling out his heart, my breath hitched as I watched the serous fluid drip Pale yellow and transparent, covering the examiners blue glove
Removal of his organs was quick Liver, kidneys, pancreas, stomach, intestines, lungs All in that order, and all into a bag in a five-gallon bucket.
Strange, How a whole organ system of someone fits in a bucket.
They grabbed a skull saw, Cut. Cut. Cut. Until the top of his skull fell, clattering onto the metal examination table. They reached in and pulled his brains out.
His cause of death was evident, even to me. A subdural hematoma, brain bleed from suffocation pressure He had suffered while dying.
The gallery became colder at that moment. Darker, the reality of how fragile life is set in.
But the examiners didn’t halt, not even for a moment. They dissected his brain, pulling the clotted sheet of blood away Into a Tupperware, sent to the lab for a confirmation cause of death.
The examiners then grabbed a camera and began to snap A dismembered child. They rolled him around, his open chest cracking and snapping Every movement was fluid and detached.
I felt the overwhelming urge to scream, to weep, to flee
To them, this was just another day. Just another body, That they could stuff into a five-gallon bucket.