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I saw the procession, followed the coffin like the others, with head respectfully bowed. I found no reasons to ask them, Who’s this stranger? Where’d he live? How’d he die? There are many causes of death, among them the ache of life. I asked m [...]

The Book

Whose name will be inscribed in the book
                                                                 just before mine?


The trick was breathing in, you claimed, as if that was all they gathered to watch as you milked the crowd in your matador sash, rum-slurring some speech no one could hear above the river's thunder.

Jamie’s Hair

His hair declared him his own bohemian, a middle-class free spirit
with a mortgage to pay down, a racing bike, a subscription to Netflix,
and a frau as deceptively frail as Hans Memling’s palest Madonna.

Dead Enough?: The Paradox of Brain Death

 am a transplant and cancer surgeon and in my office, stashed among folders containing notes and old operative reports from my residency, two fellowships, and practice, is a 9 × 12 manila envelope that bulges with small white stickers. Each sticker bears the name and age of one of the 150 brain-dead patients whose organs I have procured.