Memento Mori

by Julie Hart

I see you’ve noticed the skull–it was his
idea. After donating the brain
to Princeton, it was picked clean by beetles
at the Science Museum, sawn in half,
hinged, fitted with this hook. I could keep things
in it–old keys, rubber bands, paper clips,
worn erasers–but I won’t. Yes, I talk
to it. The teeth still seem to be him, the rest–
not so much. Some people find it creepy,
but to me it’s comforting, this part of him
that thought and ate and talked–above all, talked.
I’m still honing my thoughts against his head
as a whetstone, imagining his jaw
dropping, his eye sockets thrown to the sky,
his laugh filling the whole room, any room.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 3