The Brains by Ruby Rorty

I plant brains out back to help me think. I can’t say whose. In the mornings, I pour coffee over their folds and sprinkle the grounds as fertilizer. At night, the bodiless brains’ dreams drift past my windows like jellyfish. I fall asleep watching them and their phosphorescence seeps into my own dreams. In these dreams, I am brainier than ever.

I am proud of my brains, so I write a letter to the brain people at the university in town. Secretly, I hope they will give me an honorary degree. A man in a lab coat comes and shakes my hand. He digs up my garden and bags the brains. When he thinks I’m not looking, he kisses each one through the plastic.

I ask if I can come visit and he tells me it will be best for everyone if I don’t try to contact my brains at their new home. He leaves, and my garden is full of fresh dirt and coffee grounds. At night, the windows stay dark.


Ruby Rorty is a poet, journalist, and environmental justice researcher in Chicago. Her work has appeared in Cool Rock Repository, Paddler Press, and Mythic Picnic Volume 8. Ruby tweets @RortyRuby and Instagrams @ruby.rorty