[Poetry] — Avrina Joslin

My 3D Brain

I forgot the names of the parts of my brain and when the doctor asked me where it pained I
said the front, back or forehead and I had no idea what was in there, below, why it was
prissy and achy all the time. I didn’t know if I was pointing the right way and if I didn’t
I’d be given the wrong medicine which’d throw me into spasms and froth me
at the mouth. I didn’t know a thing.

I bought a 3D brain the size of my head, put it on my desk as I thought my brain was put in
my head, touched its snaky hard ridges as if it was a maze to get my head around. Beginning
at the frontal lobe, I referred to the colour code stuck to my wall: light pink for frontal eye
fields, the purple Broca’s area, the light green Premotor Cortex and so on.

Words didn’t match the things I felt inside in pins and spikes.

My 3D brain is a frog ready to leap, a shrivelled beggar on the street.
From different angles seen and in different speeds rotated it is one grasshopper or other
which I once knew the names of. A handful of species found early in the morning, stuck to
leaves as if morning dew is glue. I put them in houses of cardboard and scoured books to
know them, name them and pair them to make families.

I took my 3D brain to the doctor, sat there and began when he brought out his 3D
brain, smaller than mine coloured differently with a tapering spine attached.
It broke into many more pieces than mine did and his red coloured Broca’s area was causing
me to mumble fumble for words names and other things that I was so perfectly capable of
making when I was younger when I knew what pained and where it pained.

I lost a red piece of my 3D brain. Then a blue a green my purple Broca and everything till
a wooden frame of my 3D brain was all that remained. The air was spongy moist and lost.
The air was heavy sinking into spots of emptiness spots of gutted memory
something removed taken forcefully given no names no trace just the frame an indication that
something something was there and now it’s gone and there’s no naming these things
because there’s no calling these things taking back these things
there’s no coming away from the emptiness of these things.

My 3D brain is my brain, a tree without fruit, leaf against the wind. Hit scourged left out of
Noah’s ark standing cold drowning in forty days of rain. A tree a woodpecker pecked for
fun and got its beak stuck where the bright blue amygdala shone like bright eyes in the
night. That doctor, that’s what it feels like. In between the two eyes of my once amygdala is
a woodpecker caught and may die any minute now.

Go in doctor, be kind.

You are Rembrandt.

You’re dead in four states, timid in three, divorced in two, tepid in the rest,
alive in none.
You’re a monster without teeth, hilarious at a funeral, missing in a wedding,
swimming in a car, thin in a cat suit.

For instance,
when you pick a cat, the cat doesn’t pick you.
When you eat a fish, the fish eats you. Chewing through your
belly to where
a pair of balls play against the skin of a woman who is also
ridiculously like you
that she’s eaten fish that eat her too.
These two fish in these two of you
eat right through genitals to kiss bloody fish lips which one day you
will want to woo.

You went to the museum to meet Rembrandt who you resurrected from
the dead. He’s painted you without your genitals but got the size of your
head quite right. A soya bean multiplied thousand eight hundred and fifty
five times.
When the party’s over you whisper why you knew he was the
better choice. You two
eat a plate of fish for dinner. The type that
eats you. Since the Rembrandt you resurrected is as ridiculous as
you his fish will eat him too.

One morning you woke up to find that you’d eaten your hand.
You sit in the bath tub, take the hand that’s left, shove it down your throat and try to throw up
the hand that you’ve eaten.
You don’t. You eat a dozen bananas and drink five
bottles of water hoping to shit it out. And every time you poop that day you’re afraid that
you’d flush your hand down the toilet. You have the memory of an unborn child. It isn’t
enough that you don’t have a hand to remind you that you don’t have a hand. So you put up a
post-it on the flush knob. The hand is stuck between your heart and your lung wondering
which one to squish first. Which it wonders, is more painful.

One day a cat picks you because the blood from your severed arm turns it on. When
you get to know, you unpick it. You know this means you’re going to seventh hell.
You’ve been before. It’s as good as prison.

That evening you go to Rembrandt to wonder why you have
such ill luck with cats. You want to de-resurrect Rembrandt
because now he’s painted you not just without genitals but also
without a hand. You think your mother is a liar when

she’s quick to say de-resurrect isn’t a word. More than positive.

Rembrandt met you at the patent office where you stood in
a queue of cats dogs and fish to register your new de-surrection. If
approved it will be desurrection and will appear on your word
document without a red zig zag underline like teeth.
At the counter they show you the sign – you can invent only one
word per life. It also says that your life cannot be a paradox.
You cannot, it says specifically and it kids you not, resurrect someone,
Rembrandt in brackets, and try to register an event to contradict it. Before
Rembrandt can reduce your soya bean head to smithereens
with a wicker basket, you break down to threes, two knees one hand.

You’re parts of a life lived here and there, mostly unfulfilled
dreams patent pending. You’re two parts of Oxygen with one part
of Hydrogen but just as letters your ex-daughter copied in her science
textbook. You’re never the water that Rembrandt now feeds you
ashamed that he’d tried to kill his creator with a wicker basket.
Ashamed that neither of his paintings caught you right. The next time
you visit him, you want to desurrect him no more because
he’s got it right. He’s got you as you are – a man shaped hole
strutting across a canvas shaped life. But then the universe had other
plans and for once thought you were worth a pickle. The hand in
your chest grabbed your heart and pushed it out of your body
to show Rembrandt and more you that you had a pulsating bloody
heart that when squished real hard will squirt out blood on your
lifeless face. You saw it just a minute before you died
in eighty five states but still sat smoking in one. Rembrandt caught
this whole thing on canvas and became the next big Rembrandt.


Avrina Joslin writes poetry, fiction, and essays. She was shortlisted for the 2019 Berlin Writing Prize for her short story ‘The Plumage’ and her work has been published in The Four Quarters Magazine, The Miso Magazine, The Bird’s Thumb, Nefarious Magazine, The Cadaverine, Visual Verse, EQView, and more. Avrina is a doctoral researcher at The University of Göttingen and tweets @AvrinaJoslin.

All work is the rightful property of the author and is distributed with their permission.

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