blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Book of the Body

A discount technical text, where they photographed the cadaver
of an executed convict, micro-dissected into sheets so thin,
the precision of the blade is inexplicable. Nothing shocking—
a mass of gel and coagulation,

the disproportionately scant meat clumped or stretched
taut and strapped between the white bone columns,
no liquid left in the organs and blood vessels.
The necrotic tissue—depilated and dry-iced,
accepts its neutralized color.

Naturally, I'm predisposed to certain areas.
First, I look to the heart. Next, I search for compromise
behind the cranium, and within the orb of a sliced pupil to explain sight.
And then there's the deepest reaches of the machines of love.

Starting with the skull, an anterior transverse cross-section
through the opaque minor lens reveals vitreous optics of the Universe.
A deeper version of the same cut bares a penis chambered like the heart,
while a coronal view exposes the face behind the mask
drawn over the evacuated oral and sinus cavities.

The deeper the cut towards the back of the head, the more shut
the expression. It's like he witnessed the whole process,
the life scared out of him, laid in the supine position,
cradled in a plywood box and fixed

for the laser, his corpse encased in hardened foam,
young, relatively healthy, a few things missing:
appendix, a tooth and a testicle. As for organ donation,
the lethal injection rendered him unsuitable.  

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