ENGLISH MAJOR | Sharon Whitehill

High school biology, skinning a frog:
fascinated in spite of myself
at the inside-out glove of the peeled epidermis,
the sleekness of overlapped muscles,
the three black liver lobes
hiding the nut of a wrinkled gallbladder. 
At the way the curled pancreas peeked,
ragged and thin as a leaf, 
between the small intestine
and larval curve of the stomach.
 
Fug of floor wax and synthetic gravy
in the college cafeteria each night         
that merged with memorized terms for mitosis.
I want to be a psychiatrist, I informed my advisor.
I want to understand me.
Thus funneled into pre-med,
where nothing of image or language existed
to kindle commitment.
 
Moved at last to a major that filled me
with Shakespeare and Dickens and Yeats,
that quickened my mind 
with a greater awareness of human behavior
than on or behind a psychiatrist’s couch.

Sharon Whitehill is a retired English professor from West Michigan now living in Port Charlotte, Florida. In addition to poems published in various literary magazines, her publications include two scholarly biographies, two memoirs, two poetry chapbooks, and a full collection of poems.

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