Conversation with a Cadaver in the Dissection Hall

I enter the room without knocking

I enter your space without permission

You laying there peacefully

Your eyes looking at me

You laying there lifeless

Your eyes staring through me


I wonder what could have happened

If life would have crossed our paths

In another place, at another time


We could have become neighbors

Waving at each other from a distance

We could have become friends

Even best friends

We could have become lovers

Vowing never to part as long as we lived


But it is death that brings us together

So goodbye neighbor, friend, lover

Forgive me as I begin to learn the secrets of life


Forgive me as I begin to bring down this knife

And cut you in a thousand pieces

Awais Riaz, M.D., Ph.D. is an epileptologist who has been with the University of Utah Department of Neurology since 2004. He claims that the best part of his job is being a small group facilitator for the “Layers of Medicine” course for first- and second-year medical students. When not engaged in clinical work, he enjoys reading, writing and taking pictures.

Rubor Participation:
2020 Photograph, "Pod of Dolphins"
2020 Photograph, "Under the Tail of a Whale", web edition
2019 Poem, "Nirvana"
2013 Poem, "The Savior"
2013 Poem, "Conversation with a Cadaver in the Dissection Hall"