“First Human Head Transplant” by Alyse Knorr

Willow Springs 89

Found in Willow Springs 89

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On this very day they are planning it! While I drink a Kölsch called Julia’s Blessing with my beautiful wife

who for convenience calls the body Bill and the head George and asks: which is the person and which the meat?


The weather is so nice it doesn’t matter. The pastry truck man on the corner hands out shepherd’s pies,

kids throw Frisbees again on the quad, the campus DJs tell fart jokes, and The New York Times has not texted me even once.


The only acceptable conversation topics: it is February and 70 degrees outside, and how many minutes until brain death?

How to ensure blood flow and reattach nerves, and what is my own utility, when the trees are thesis statements,


the forest the very essence of language? In the shower later I look at my feet and wonder why they are my feet,

and then in my towel I google the two-headed dog and ask: why keep the front legs, sprouting from the lower dog’s shoulders


like antennae? Why not the head alone? Did the two get along, during their month of shared life? Which was Bill and which George?

But these are aesthetic questions—every dog I have known has been only one dog. Now as the mad scientist studies


his circuitry map, now as the lab scurries with head-swapped mice, now as Happy Hour draws to an end, I am left to wonder

what kind of ship will carry me past my narrow horizon. What kind of logs must I saw? And when I tell


my mother tomorrow just to have someone to tell, I can hear already her questions, the ones

only death trivia can prompt: How is this possible? Who is in charge? And, from deep within the forest: Why?

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