Martha Kaplan

Her brain is open
on the table
and she is conscious
talking with the surgeon
you can hear their voices on the tape
as the camera focuses on the tiny stimulator
that touches on the surface
of the gray matter:
here, she weeps
there, she is joyous
here, she loses speech
there, it returns
one moment her words are clear, focused
at the next, her words confused
she is lost, muddled
her tongue thick
and struggling
this is a surgeon’s geography
mountains and valleys
elusive regions of eloquent cortex
complex neurological pathways
a cartographer’s challenge
think the mapping of movement
horizontally
think the mapping of curved space
reduced to squares, lines
think what can be touched
what is certain
and what is not