Issue > Poetry
Thomas Mampalam

Thomas Mampalam

Thomas Mampalam is a board certified neurosurgeon in private practice for the last 28 years. He writes poetry based on his immigration, family, and medical experiences.


The brain contains a perpetual spring.
In the four ventricles within the brain,
the choroid plexus filters blood to form
a clear fluid that bathes the labyrinthine
chambers and surfaces like an artesian
well by which exquisite flowers grow.

In the descending horns of the lateral
ventricles,  there are curled ridges,
the hippocampi, steads of Neptune
with horse head and dolphin tail.
Beside the sea horses rest
pale amygdala almonds.

A neurosurgeon can remove
amygdala and hippocampus
to prevent refractory seizures
but if too much is damaged,
the patient suffers amnesia and
and loss of personhood.

The almond and sea horse
fuse emotion and memory,
the difference between a kiss
that is just a touch of pressed lips
and a kiss that bursts in your body
and reverberates across your life.


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