THE MECHANISM OF PLEASURE

BY KC TROMMER

For A. H.

The brain is three pounds of soft mass. It’s the consistency
of pudding
, one doctor told me, which put me off
pudding afterwards. He gestured, motion of the finger
going through it, and even made the wet sound
for something—the knife?—sliding in. Easy to make a mistake.

They worked in the most primitive part of the brain,
the area that governs pleasure. And because
it was the brain, they kept me awake for surgery.
I didn’t know—they hadn’t told me—what would happen when
they took their instruments in to pry the tumor
away from where it nestled against the base of my skull.

When they were close, they leaned in, hovering, faces taut
in anticipation of the glorious moment and so it came:

a soft touch to the reptilian brain and delight sprung out,
shooting my body with ecstasies. I shook the table, silver metal
of their instruments tittering as my eyes rolled behind my lids
in glories. But after, I saw the strangeness in their eyes,
the flat black of them all having seen me.

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KC TROMMER’s poems have appeared in AGNI, The Antioch Review, Coconut, MARGIE, Octopus and other journals. A graduate of the MFA program at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, KC has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize, as well as fellowships from the Maine Summer Arts Program, the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Prague Summer Program. She lives in New York City with her husband, the novelist Justin Courter. “The Mechanism of Pleasure,” appeared in Issue 21.1 – Winter/Spring 2009.