“Neurosurgery Sonata” by Brooke Matson

Issue 82 Cover shows Chris Bovery print of a bridge in pink and blue with Willow Springs in decorative font.

Found in Willow Springs 82

Back to Author Profile

Neurosurgery Sonata


I've imagined it many times and still, it jars

like a fist to the jaw. There will be music

despite everything, you quoted, and yes, my pulse

quickens at Zoe Keating's electric

cello even now, enough to need tissues.

I imagine it so often, it's as if I saw


the surgeon, swathed like a priest, drive the saw

into your skull. Like popping the seal of a mason jar,

he unhinges blood and bone, exposes the gray tissue

of his trade. The nurse presses play on your music

as instructed (cue the cello); nerves bathe in electric

oceans of anesthesia; the pulse


of cello strings drop like plumb lines through the pulsing

Z of the heart monitor. I believe you hear it. But that saw

haunts me -- some real Frankenstein shit. Where's the electric

bolt of lightning? you'd joke, but I can't laugh. The jarring

raze of its serrated music

cleaves my tissue-thin


bravery. Time, I have learned, is a flexible tissue

and the muscled pulse

of your  neurons strums its own shining music:

our first kiss on a darkened street; the see-sawing

oars of kayaks on the bay; whiskey sipped from jam jars

on the Fourth of July; fireworks glowing electric


as you rise between thighs, electrified --

years of time folded tightly in a cortex maze of tissue

where somewhere, my body wanders through synapses that jar

and flicker like Vegas highways, pulsations

of neon in contiguous, cursive constellations. Tell me sawing

stars from the sky is impossible, that music


can't be severed from melody, the cellist from the musical

oscillations of her instrument, the wild electron

from the nucleus it loves. Say there is not a saw

for every bond. Say that our minds are not lanterns of tissue

paper, easily torn. Your pulse

holds you together a while -- a fragile jar


of stars humming their music in the dark tissue

of space, an electric dance of neurons. Like hope, they pulse.

O  trade me a saw for a spoon, that I may scrape the sides of that jar.



Leave a Comment