by Lisa McCool-Grime


From the phrenologist, I have learned
to know myself as a country
knows its fences and rivers.
See the chart colored
like a map:  the fissures, the swell
of organ tissue underneath
my scalp. These little hills
at the corner of my eyes
hold all the numbers
I have been thus far.
I am thirty and full
(feel the dormant volcano
at the base of my skull)
of wanting for someone to bless me
with touch. When I called
on the doctor, it was all metal
to sternum, plastic
to pulse and me
under the paper sheet
like a fruit fly under plate glass.
What good are his stirrups
for my heels? I should find my head
in the skilled hands
of a geographer, a man
who knows how basins came
to lie among the ridges of my crown.
When I call on the phrenologist,
he stands behind me as I sit,
nestles my occipital bone
to his navel and runs
a ringless ring finger
along my cheek, a sign
of peace across my brow.