Piece of Work
after viewing “Bodies: The Exhibition”

These most perfect young men
with a few anomalies: conjoined
fetuses, cancerous lungs, women.

Skinless, fresh lipstick muscles,
they pose on white plinths, still only
reach my chin. Fake eyeballs, no lids.
On the women, eyelashes

glued to the occiput of skull.
Red blood furtively shunted
to red plastic in their veins.

Motionless warriors - the emperor’s army,
positions originate with four cardinal directions.
Whorled intestinal galaxy, dense
fractal vessels of the kidney.

Naked supermarket meat, covered
with tiny veils of Latin names,
like passages from Ovid you knew were dirty

because they were not translated.
Ruched intestines, netted
lace of arteries, nerves raveled
off rigid knitting needle tendons.

Loom harness - craftswoman weaving up
butcher honing down, by the pound.
Drumbeat of meat, drumstick, thick

slab stone bones, nodes. Read them
as blasphemy, as every poem written –
about, but not the thing itself.
I slide my eyes across this one’s shoulders,

serenade the lute-cords of his biceps,
read the iliopsoas from right to left,
unrolled like an ancient scroll.

Lean, and cold a teasing strip.
They perceived they were naked, but
dropped the half-made garments,
thorn needles and sinew, and stood.



Copyright 2012,  Roberta P. Feins

Roberta Feins received her MFA in poetry in 2007 from New England College. Her poems have been published in The Gettysburg Review, Five AM, Antioch Review, and The Cortland Review (among others). Prizes include First Prize in the 2010 Women in Judaism Magazine poetry contest. Roberta is a co-editor of Switched-On Gutenberg.

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