Two Views of a Cadaver Room

after Sylvia Plath


Ants swarm over the body of a bird
that fell near their nest.
Their frenzied activity seems chaotic
but has a purpose.
They devour the bird, bit by bit
and haul each piece back to their nest,
feeding their queen til she’s ready to pop.
Check back day by day,
and each time there’s less bird left.
Until the ant horde moves on
without sentiment or thanks.
The anatomy labs are still and quiet
in the middle of a winter afternoon until
the doors fly open like a burst dam,
letting in a flood of students.
The room is dominated by their animated talking
and the sharp sounds of bone saws.
There’s a goal under all of this noise
as they consume the body each day
digesting muscles, arteries, and nerves
and store them all away as facts and mnemonics.
Until fat and happy after passing the class,
they move on.

Cody Morris, Class of 2011