Broca’s area (a case study) By Heleen De Boever

Broca’s area (a case study)

We are in the hospital, and

the diagonal cut of moonlight highlights the clinical context
of our everyday catastrophe. chrome and rounded corners, a fence,
an extra blanket. the aesthetics of safety smell like rubber.

i listen to the gasps, the gurgles, the tongue swallowing itself
in an attempt to be loved. my boyfriend once dreamt up a serenade.
now everything he says is a column of sound, ruptured at the edges.

“a tragedy,” the doctor explains, and “cerebral damage.” clean-cut
words to be tucked away in a file. “oops” is another word i like.
this is what i imagine the vein must have said when it slipped open.

my boyfriend is learning how to use his hands now his speech
sounds like strangling. we play a game of reversed roles: his gaze
one of complete comprehension, mine wild and wicked, asking why.

look, this happens. you know. you sign risk clauses. but it feels
unfair to say ‘surgeons are only human’ when they are capable
of reducing someone to much less than that.

By Heleen De Boever


Heleen De Boever is the co-founder of werkloos mag. With an MSc in Theatre & Performance Studies, her creative and academic work infuse each other as themes of physicality, corporeal identity and sensory confusion continue to inspire her writing. She hopes to grow, always, upwards.

Leave a Reply