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February 8, 2016: Heart Poem

Exam # 1, Anatomy and Physiology
The Cardiovascular System

The heart drums out an insistent beat
and quickens as I consider the questions,
What is the source of the lub?
What is the source of the dup?
The semi lunar valves? The atrioventricular valves?
And do these sounds occur when the respective valves are opening or closing?
The heart box, drawn on my answer sheet,
now has indecipherable red and blue lines, circles, and squiggles.
I draw a second, then a third box, then glance at the text.
The athlete on the cover is leaping into the air,
and is poised to serve a volleyball.
Her navel is pierced but her ears are not.
Lithe, lean, and lanky, this woman has all the answers
to all the questions, about all the organ systems,
and for this reason I envy her.
On my left and right are classmates
who either know more or less than I about the subject matter.
I surmise that pooling our knowledge,
would at least still my soaring heart rate.
“Onward and upward” I mumble, leaving the above answers blank,
and move on to the next question.
What’s the term used to describe a floppy valve?
I, who equate the most appropriate term with being a self-slacker,
pencil in C, incompetent, this as opposed to Stenotic,
meaning stiff, unyielding, rigid. I eventually move on,
making analogous comparisons until no more can be made.
The rest is rote. Stuff diagrams in book. Slip book into backpack.
Hand exam sheets to teacher. Retrieve red and blue markers.
Exit the classroom. Grimace in recalling all that’s been forgotten.

Alys Culhane

Next: 39. 1/9/16: Smoke, Fog, Haze


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