things don't die or remain damaged
but return: stumps grow back hands,
a head reconnects to a neck,
a whole corpse rises blushing and newly elastic.
After skimming the Sunday Times, Dad turned to the back of the magazine
and tore out the crossword puzzle for his mother in Wisconsin—
"To find a connectome, or the mental makeup of a person,"
researchers experimented with the neurons of a worm
Without the sun filtered through closed eyelids,
without the siren along the service road,
Curious to see caverns,
we detoured in Tennessee
I wish I knew the contents and I wish the contents
I can't recall where to set the knife and spoon.
I can't recall which side to place the napkin
or which bread plate belongs to me. Or
how to engage in benign chatter.
How to say milk? How to say sand, snow, sow,
linen, cloud, cocoon, or albino?
How to say page or canvas or rice balls?
A map on tissue. A mass of wire. Electricity of the highest order.
Somewhere in this live tangle, scientists discovered—
like shipmates on the suddenly-round earth—
Before doctors learn how it is that the brain's lights turn on, they may have to know a lot more about what's happening when the lights are off.