Martha Serpas (2008)
We hated the early anatomists
for showing us how fragile we are,
how God’s image is composite:
the liver the bright bruise of a sunset,
the thyroid wrapped around our throats
for luck. They saw our brains folded
against our foreheads and knew our hearts
pump dumbly on through the wash.
And wily guts take the brunt of it,
pushing to get rid of while we insist
on taking in and taking in and taking in.
Theirs was heresy, that is, a choice
to reach the Artist by testing the art,
human suffering always the requisite cost.
Change, what keeps all of it the same,
the Teacher says, no new thing
under the sun. What we make, let’s make old
instead, older than the first tool,
which smelled much like the body—
the first blacksmith must have thought—
not quite like displaced blood, but blood at home
in its place among other parts in their places,
and that must be how we began to confuse
the power to examine and change
with the power to create, to be discrete agents,
why we like to see ourselves as whole,
despite the diener piling legs on a cot,
despite the pruned artery, tied and cut.
2007: "Naming of Parts" by Henry Reed