The Royal College of Physicians. The exhibit--the Dawn of Medicine. The preserved human foetuses--the question of death coming before life--its shuddering seismic contradiction.
One is deformed, another is thin--his skin droops like a loose sweater. The other foetuses are perfectly formed--little sprigs of hair, tiny perfect hands and feet, everything as it should be--except for one thing--they died before they ever lived.
The questions swarm through the glass jars. Who would have brought them crying into the world? What great lives awaited them? What of their mothers--did they live or die?
The quintuplets. Their blind eyes stare out from the glass. The O of their mouths shape mute words never meant for the world. One has his fingers laced--the will of a living being guiding together its fingers. They are not alive--yet here are the workings of the human soul.
Each face has its own expression--different from the others. One is as serene as a mystic on a mountaintop. Another has the look of turmoil. The smallest--no bigger than a grape--his look of unbearable anguish--slays my spirit. I will never purge that look from inside my soul. Oh why did I come to this place? I resent the courage that brought me here. I even shrink with shame for being alive.
Turn to them, turn to your soul, then turn to me and tell me truly--Life begins at birth.
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