Brain Poetry Contest: Fourth Winner

Earlier this week, we announced the first, second, and third of the five winners in our Brain Poetry Contest. Today we reveal our fourth winner.

Picture the Mind

By Myra Sklarew

It’s not a pretty sight—Vesalius’s  folded surface

of the brain. Or da Vinci’s ventricles, spinal cord


trailing down like a braided afterthought.

Or each hemisphere bed down in its cubicle,


parted by the corpus callosum, crossing guard

for traffic back and forth. Now Descartes comes


on stage, appoints the pineal gland—trusty messenger

between matter and mind. Hard to say when beauty


slipped into this equation. Axon and dendrite.

Molecules dancing across synaptic space. 


Receptors hungry for their messages.

Cascade of ions in their chrysalis of light.


Myra Sklarew worked in the 50s at Yale Medical School under Karl Pribram studying frontal lobe function and delayed response memory of Rhesus monkeys. A collection of poetry, Harmless, was published in 2010, and study of trauma and memory is forthcoming.

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