An Undergraduate Literary Journal from UW-Milwaukee

Tough Body

by Katarina Merlini

I know a lot about the corpus callosum, tough body, the commissure that
connects the left and right hemispheres.
The largest white matter structure, freshly cut it appears pinkish white—
lacking the lipid content, fatty myelin, of
its greyer sibling.
To cut the corpus callosum fibers is to reduce the effects of refractory epilepsy,
to isolate the electrical storms in one hemisphere
and prevent the communication of chaos. The procedure is risky, the procedure
is dangerous and may result in a loss of voice,
motor control, and alien hand syndrome, where the afflicted’s hand appears
to have a mind of its own. One woman reported
her right hand would light a cigarette, balance it on the ashtray, and her left
hand would reach forward and snub it out.
Thus, we are two separate consciousnesses, each hemisphere is capable of free will.
It is the purpose of the corpus callosum
to shackle these twin sisters together, to join them in a single tough body.


Katarina Merlini is a poet, writer, and alleged human being who studies English and Psychology at the University of Michigan. When she’s not dressing her dog up in thrifted sweaters or tending to her windowsill cactus collection, she enjoys working as a mentor for local LGBTQ+ and at-risk youth.