Lunch Conversation: Cadaver Parts
Between forkfuls of fresh catfish,
Ted shares how his dentist built up
his jaw with ground cadaver bones
before inserting a dental implant.
Joanne gives us more details of cadaver use,
that a wave hit her at a certain angle
their first day of vacation in Cabo San Lucas
and sliced the tendons behind her left knee
so that she had to have her torn tendons
replaced with some from a cadaver.
Meanwhile, I dissect my catfish, separate
the flesh and skin from bones then dip
the rescued flesh in remoulade sauce.
With the fish en route to my mouth,
I think how glad I am that in my will
I’ve donated my body to science
so my spirit may one day hear
my body parts discussed at lunch.
Upstairs, Don vacuums the carnage:
dead insects we acquire on our farm
because of its proximity to the Spoon River,
our manager has explained.
Fly, wasp and beetle corpses lay face-up
under the Persian carpets asphyxiated
by the exterminator, some, with legs
in the air like yoga positions, lay
across the billiard table cover,
others squat with black bodies as prominent
as blood stains on the white-tiled bathroom floor.
The pervasive orange-pungent odor
of the vacuum-squashed beetles wafts
down the stairway as well as
the high-pitched machine whine
to where I sip Earl Grey tea
with honey and milk in the sunroom.
The milk has a Central Illinois taste
distinct from the Wisconsin cow output
we usually drink in Chicago.
Outside the casement windows, I observe
the hunter’s white pick-up parked at the bottom
of the cornfield like a camouflaged hearse
in the unexpected snow, ready to haul
their game, an eviscerated white-tailed deer,
to the local butcher who will grind it
into sausage and venison salami.