You have given a great gift to me.
I must show respect for you
by learning who you were.

I met your daughter this morning.
Now she shows me pictures of you,
weeping as she tells what each one shows.
Clearly, she loves you, and misses you already.
I begin to share her grief.

Tonight I will tell the others about you,
so that they will know the life
of the woman whose body they will study.

As I show slides of your story 
your family is crying.
Soon I find that I am too.
You are no longer just a form beneath a sheet.
You were a sister, a wife, a mother.
Once you were a nurse;
Now you will become my teacher,
As I learn from your body how to help others.

When you have taught us what you could
I will restore your body to wholeness,
as our ancestors would wish.
Then I will bind you up in gauze
and go with you to the place of fire
where I will read my poem to you.
Your daughter will take it with your ashes.

Thank you, my silent teacher.


Based on an article about a Taiwanese medical school
whose policy of showing reverence for the
donors has overcome the Chinese reluctance to
donate their bodies to medicine.



© 2009  Michael Yanega







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