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The remaining questions
  1. Yasmin Jajarmi
  1. Correspondence to Yasmin Jajarmi, McMaster University Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine, 1319 Bunsden Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario L5H 2B3, Canada; yasmin.jajarmi{at}

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you may ask about

deformed structure: a white root onion bulb behind eyes, or

boggy green-grape bulging under knuckles, or the green

sprouts shooting from the carina, or the bifurcation

of open-lung

shaped as a bird's breastbone: sensual, white, snowy, open paths:

the things that remind us of the first cut in surgery, or me of

his legs apart in the evening;

you may ask about the paper-mache of our environment

mapped on the undressed body: a raspberry rash

or the leaky shimmer of virus-vesicles

nailed newly, painfully, on her back as

new shingles for the roof of her chest; or the

coracoid: the raven's beak

and the writing desk of shoulder tissue where it perches, or

the way the sella turcica sits precariously

atop the equine mind; the lunate: that deep, slow, concave

dimple-bone poised in the hands of

our root-skinned darlings as they bath us and

promise us poetry;

you may ask about the diffuse, metabolic whirring,

the humming invisible that makes chefs weep as they chop:

the electric ions in motion in blood:

a tick in potassium, a splash of acid, a white cell—


some questions are the stationary swept aside

on office desks to make room

for hurried lovers: whether he loved him and whether

the rectal tumour makes it painful

to love him still;

or whether she, in older age, ever wants to take a man

with her teeth and whether she feels she can,

if she wanted to: but we must not ask

about the unsnarled body's desires

so acutely preserved, laid with shy hands on the breakfast table,

for daily swallowing, for tucking in;

or whether my stethoscope

feels like a man's metal-cold, unwanted hands

beneath her breast; or if the barring of

his fresh, lit, sparky cigarettes in hospitals

was, all along, behind

his refusal to stay.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.