Title Our Authors

Organ Harvest

By Lee Nelson


Suburban versus train

rural county road

anywhere North Dakota.


All teenagers one "survivor"

one brain-dead flower of hope

to anyone but herself

on life support.


I was hardly an adult myself

when I met Caitlin.


Her hair was barley blond

Her face a supple Helen young

Her eyes a coveted hazel


a captivating hazel

a color that makes young men

leave parent pounded dreams

let alone their infatuate own

for diapers and lawn mowers

if only they're dumb lucky.


If only.

I looked at her

and thought if only


she had lived to discard their dreams

for her own, let alone the chances

she would've always had

just batting those eyes

for no reason at all

let alone any reason

she would've been way ahead of.


I saw her eyes

on the day after

her worst day.

Even on that day

they were a sight

to anyone.


So, the jars did nothing for them,

but that was much later.


Her sternum was solid.

I've seen many since:

youth, early adulthood

middle age, elderly…

the saw was delivered viciously

and a chest retractor always wins.


Her "cross clampings" were perfection.

We cut the blood from pumping her vital organs

in timing that felt Olympic

and dumped our pitchers

of salty slush into

her ceasing cavities

and yielded her kidneys,

her liver,

her precious heart,

and her bowels and pancreas

for research.


Then her eyes and

perhaps her bones,

something performed by colleagues

behind other closed doors,

so I wouldn't know.


What I do know is who she was

to the organ demanding world. 

She was virtuous.

She gave it all. 

Life hadn't molested her

until us.


But for that I suppose

lives will forever love her

as her final decree

was to love life

but then again

it can't be said that way.

She was too young at her time

to decree anything.

The decision belonged

to her parents.


judgment is absent.

It just feels critical

to mention.


Marge is equally critical to mention,

a sixty seven year old grandmother

of five who gained a needed kidney

not to mention a wilted little

everything to everybody

who was blessed

with her other.


Her heart?

I know a man

gained the real time

he wouldn't have otherwise

to walk his daughter to the alter.


The liver?  Never got that message from Organ Donor Recovery.

I must say they're usually better about that, so you've read thus far.


Their jobs are adamant's finest hour.

Simply and accurately put,

they do Tsunami.

That's what they do.

I forgive them.

Anyone should.


But the liver?

Couldn't tell you.


Hope whoever wherever

was deserving for whatever

does decide that.

All I know is that if

The Whatever

was to lock eyes with me

in my time of need


I would agree

I don't deserve.


But enough about me.

This is Caitlin's story.


Caitlin was and is the reason

man loves man

for the finned fellow

the reason

man must gut man

like a fish.


Man must love the finned fellow for his fins.

We must love the fish for the fish

as we carve the fish

and cut the fish.


That's how humanity

does inhumanity

very well

and it's nice to see


serve humanity

once in a while.


Funny how we came about it.


Our science rapes

our divinity

for man to prove



the gift

of life.






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