Wednesday, July 20, 2011

30/30 Day 20: Table of Contents

In New Jersey, medical students
forbidden from studying cadavers

use bone chisels to pry the hinges
from the morgue doors. You show me

a film of a dog's severed head––
It's Russian you say, as though

that explains the apparatus
siphoning blood through its host.

Nothing tragic about these days
spent invading the living, the dead,

the students opening men like
china cabinets, reverence, care,

setting the table with our contents.
The dog licks its muzzle, calm

as we are, watching it track
a flashlight, turn its bloodied ears

toward voices. This is where
it started
, you say. Now

that machine keeps organs alive.

Somewhere, a fist of red muscle

beats in a clear box before transplant,
a lung breathes deep without ribs

to confine it. When finished,
the students replace the hinges and,

inside, the bifurcated seams that split
their subjects are sewn shut,

not a stitch out of place.

4 comments:

twitches said...
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Nathan Landau said...

I'm not sure about the almost tongue-in-cheek title, but I was hoping those lines would make the call for me. Your reaction made me laugh in a good way.

Also: I love poems grounded in the facts we manage to forget, overlook, or intentionally push away. I'm glad to know there's another poet out there actively seeking (and if you're anything like me, geeking out about) lost bits of information.

twitches said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
twitches said...
This comment has been removed by the author.