You do not die all at once. Some tissues live on for minutes, even hours, giving still their little cellular shrieks, molecular echoes of the agony of the whole corpus.

I don't dawdle. I'm a surgeon. I make an incision, do what needs to be done and sew up the wound. There is a beginning, a middle and an end.

Surgery is the red flower that blooms among the leaves and thorns that are the rest of medicine.

The heart is pure theater throbbing in its cage palpably as any nightingale.

A minor operation is one that is done on someone else.

I contemplate the body, dead and diseased as well as alive and healthy.

The liver, that great maroon snail: No wave of emotion sweeps it. Neither music nor mathematics gives it pause in its appointed tasks.