Some Things About the Body

The hand is the cup for catching the leaves
of willows, magnolias, lindens, and aspens.
It is as white as the autumn sky it desires to hold.

The mouth is an amphitheater with its audience teeth.
So little is simply said — the tongue performs like a diva.
It has fallen in love with the migration song of swallows.

The eye takes everything into its reversed realm,
all images are turned backwards and upside down.
It obsesses on beating candle flames in a breeze.

The ear is a maelstrom of voices swirling hurriedly
before falling into the center. Each dove
and gull cry is water trickling down a cave wall.

The heart, alive with sparking power lines crackling
against night’s blacktop, glistens with rain —
a celebration of the chaos known as love.

The soul is enamored with hundreds of sorrows: wood rot,
mudslides, darkness, graveyards and moth wings.
All for which the body has attempted, but cannot sing.


Right Knee
from Henry Gray (1825–1861).Anatomy of the Human Body.

Copyright 2012,  J. P. Dancing Bear

J. P.Dancing Bear is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. He hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, "Out of Our Minds", on public radio station, KKUP and available as podcasts. Honors include the 2002 Slipstream Chapbook Prize, and the 2010 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles National Literary Award for poetry. He is the author of twelve collections of poetry, including The Abandoned Eye (FutureCycle Press) and Family of Marsupial Centaurs (Iris Press), both released in 2012.

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