Dissection for Beginners

Body rests on the stomach, skin bloated with fluid. Pungent and ripe.
Think not person, but object. Thing.
Muscles. Fascia. Fat. Bone.
Divide into pieces.

  1. Unzip the skin. Shedding that thick Winter coat at the brink of Spring, the maroon dress quite lovely underneath in its infinite fibers. Drain. New life emerges from melted snow. Peel off that yellow scarf, traded for sun.
  2. Be wary of hands. They are human.
    1. Emma remembers those hands, his delicate fingers intertwined with hers. The first time, especially, when she reached for it in a bowl of popcorn.
    2. His hands had a mind of their own. They played Maple Leaf Rag and her hands burst into applause, reaching to ruffle with his hair.
    3. Running over every inch of her. Tough. Warm.
  3. Flip and Cut. Down the middle. Notice the abdominal muscles—quite clear in this specimen, you can tell—the obliques, transverse, rectus abdominis. Excellent work, you’re a natural.
  4. “Let’s go out for Pad Thai. I’m starved.”
  5. The weight of the scalpel is sufficient. Cuts like butter. When the cutting becomes a sawing you must replace the blade.
    1. Crimson blood flows into the pocket of her glove, flooding, escaping through her open flesh. She stares in horror at the tip of her thumb, that cap holding on by a thread, spurting onto the tiled floor. Her blood gushed hot; the Cadaver cold at touch.
  6. Red Bucket means tissue. Peel off your gowns and gloves. Pile in the skins.
  7. “Good thing you wore rain boots,” she chuckled. “Actually, I have those same rain boots.”
    1. His hands dripped embalming fluid on my boots, cold rain.
    2. “Too bad I’ll smell like death on that coffee date later. I wasn’t that into him anyways.”
  8. He lives on the shelves of the anatomy labs, as L kidney, R kidney, Heart, Spleen, Lungs, L hemisected head. Bright with red and blue plastic veins.

Christine MacKenzie is currently a student of creative writing and psychology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She writes for Mentality Magazine and The Odyssey. Outside of the literary world, she is a crisis counselor and an anatomical dissector research assistant.

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