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I Just Went There to Study Anatomy

Chapter Text

All of my days had been ordinary for so long, dull,
Either solitary or crowded with relations, so
The extraordinary days stand out, like a bright blue
Day amidst a long grey winter. Her smile is so much
More stunning even than I had remembered. She looks
At a person with such focus, you feel seen. I am used
To being talked over, about, considered the topic
Of conversation and not its subject. One forgets
That spring, when it finally arrives, comes suddenly.

She says she remembers the room, and I tell her
What it was like meeting her all those years ago,
After my mother died suddenly after my father,
How she came for tea and stayed to walk with me
In the garden. I ask if she remembers my running
After her to invite her to tea. I felt like such a fool.
She says she thought me animated. That is not
A word people often say of me. She sits on one
Yellow sofa and I suddenly realize how far across

The room the other is. Her bright smile invites me, and
I sit beside her. Her eyes are magnetic. She recalls
My sister. I tell her about Elizabeth's children,
Tell her I'm fond of children but not sure I would want
To give birth. I cannot seem to stop talking; surely
A real lady would never admit that. What will she think
Of me? But she says she also never felt compelled to
And tells me she dissected a baby once, and yes,
That it was dead, of course. Of course. I can feel

All the blood leave my face, but as she describes
Her studies in Paris, I realize that she is not unfeeling,
But rather endlessly curious and clever and unafraid.
She speaks of her fascination with the body and how
It works, and I feel a fascination building in my chest.
She calls the brain extraordinary, but she is the one
Who is extraordinary. She says it governs all that we
See, hear, think, feel, desire, and I find it harder to think.
I feel, I desire I do not know what. Her hands and eyes?