Poem: Phrenology

Phrenology

You wonder what the Phrenologist would make of you,
a head marred with scars
and the evidence of accidents and cruelties both,
so changed inside and out,
that those who knew you young
might not recognize either,
what would he predict, foretell, prognosticate
about your character and the journey
that created it, or would he pronounce me
just as marred as some,
occasionally even myself,
believe me to be?
How could he know, despite the well-cracked skull,
the hardness and the skin pulled tight
against that hardness,
that it is a fluid thing,
still capable of change, too ready
to leap and bounce and trust what is left,
this time in the journey, always believing
that if these ripples in skin and skull
are not satisfactory,
there are new cliffs to leap off of.

About this poem

Phrenology is a pseudoscience that involves the measurement of bumps on the skull to predict mental traits. For a time in the late 19th and early 20th century, something of a “thing”. Frankly though, I am not sure a neuroscientist would have much more luck with me.

I have a very beat-up head.

Tom

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