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i watched a video from the new york times, in an article called "the terrible beauty of brain surgery." it was narrated by a norwegian novelist who had witnessed it, whose accent floated back and forth between scandinavian and the edge of werner herzog's austria. i imagined john in the place of the man on that table, hand outstretched, open eyes gazing quietly, sometimes alert as the neurologist manipulated his hand, sometimes heavy-lidded and emptying. i imagined john's brain, the seat of the only soul that has ever demonstrated love to me as if he were the parent i am missing, in the place of the delicate meat on the monitor, fine-veined, picked-at, plucked-at, by the beaks of the surgeon's instruments; john's skull, flayed and stripped back, pinkly; john's tumor, drawn out, wiggling like a mollusk, shaken free and into a nurse's hand. the video doesn't show the time after, the man altered, the configuration of connections, neurons, atoms, that made him who he was disturbed, or into what shape they settled. the body is a betrayer, i thought, and again, yet again, i wept.

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