The Bodies Green and Blue

Krupa Harishankar

Reflections from the anatomy lab
overlooking Central Park

Reluctant, the same green

light over that copse of trees

and sheet of lawn glares and

bends through the lifted-open

cage of ribs, branched veins,

and cragged spine. Exposed,

my hands appear on the gurney

as a child’s. The one across 

needled grass applauds small

palms, not distant, but sound

mutes here. Joy does not carry

heft like limbs of the corpse

before me. In layers of blue

latex, the uniform tint of a pond

rendered from afar–its depth

imprecise–I glove and delve

into the viscera, leaving this

abdomen a cavity. I wonder

what hands have touched you.

These muscles are oblique,

I know, I cannot hurt you or

the child done playing, lawn

darkened. You have passed

away. The child’s short, hapless

stature may never have been. 

Memory dims. Child, body, we

keep no gender, no age. No color

can live in such an absence

of light. I know not how you

have remained with me, so

here: take my blue and green,

what shades I have. My hands

have not yet learned to save

for myself any sense of being.



About the poet:


Krupa Harishankar is a second-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. She earned her BA in creative writing from Columbia University, and her short works have appeared in such publications as The Brooklyn Review and Kartika Review.


About the poem:


“The experience of gross anatomy lab, so often regarded as a rite of passage for first-year medical students, provided inspiration and perspective for this poem. The stark contrast between the confines of lab and the vast expanse of Central Park that stretched beyond its windows reinforced the notion that, regardless of how many structures and mechanisms we were to learn in this space, we could not know the life paths our ‘first patients’ had walked out in the world.”


Poetry editors:


Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

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2 thoughts on “The Bodies Green and Blue”

  1. Sheila Turken, MD

    Very good and thoughtful poem! Krupa, I hope you keep your lyricism intact and continue to write of your experiences in this way as you go through.. I look forward to hearing more from you!

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