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Dear Brain

September 23, 2009

by Muriel Karr

(lavish love letter, written in the hope of ending
severe migraines; the ruse didn’t work)

Beloved brain, precious seat-of-emotion amygdala,
how hard you have worked to make me who I am. O pons,
much-praised cerebellum; fourth ventricle, observed
in my atlas of human anatomy; nuclei and fiber bundles,
long may ye wave, though I may not have mentioned you before.

I live in gratitude, despite any moaning, for your complexities,
dear brain. Your pathways, your receptors; how you integrate
motor signals. Medulla oblongata, hippocampus, colliculi;
occipital lobe, gray and white matter, mammillary bodies:
have I told you lately how much I love you?

I love to speak your name, though I consider you
not Broca’s, but mine, dear brain. O cranial nerves,
did my switch of handedness from left to right
disturb you? Does all flow as it should, in your cerebral
aqueduct? I want, even cherish, your over-excitable cells.

Tell me what food I should feed you: I will provide.
You will be massaged; caressed. Iced, if needed, when vessels
expand with blood; I will shrink what ails you; comfort
with cool hands. You afford me, dear brain, a peerless mind
connecting dots as no other. Let me count the ways.

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Muriel Karr was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on Mother’s Day in 1945. Her two books of poetry are Toward Dawn (2002) and Shape of Pear (1996), both published by Bellowing Ark Press.

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  1. JJS
    September 23, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Oh, fantastic! Efficacious or not, I will try this incantation on my next migraine. If it doesn’t work, I’ll still love the language.

  2. September 23, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    As a (wannabe) poet myself, I love this poem. As a severe migraine-sufferer, I delight in it. I really like how you’ve used all those scientific anatomical words in a way that makes them beautiful. Using the love-letter premise is brilliant. My brain thanks you. And, along with the commenter above, I will also try this incantation on my next migraine.

  3. Nancy
    September 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Bravo! How wonderful to address your malady with love and acceptance. That will bring relief to Brain, mind and spirit.

  4. Susan Yoder
    September 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    As one of my favorite poets, Muriel Karr has done it again. She has an uncanny ability to describe the human condition in words that both soar and crash. A peerless mind, indeed.

  5. Lisa
    October 3, 2009 at 1:33 am

    Muriel! Wonderful poem as always.

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