Today's poem is by Marianne Boruch

Human Atlas

Because the body really
is Mars, is Earth or Venus or the saddest downsized
Pluto. Can be booked, bound, mapped then.
Or rendered like something off the bone, fat just under
the animal skin, to lard,
cheaper, quicker than butter, like stillness
belies restlessness, like every yes
was or will be never, no,
                                          none of that.
Such a book keeps
the skeleton so untroubled. To narrow in, to say
femur, rib—a suspension, a splendor—
to stare like that
stops time. Or slick pages and pages given over
to slow the blood, remake muscle, to unsecret
that most mysterious lymph, its arsenal
of glands under the arm, at groin, at neck, awful
ghost lightning in it. Inscrutable.
                                                      Complete: because
the whole body ends, remember?
But each ending
goes on and on. Complete: because some
minor genius with a pencil, with ink, with drastic color
makes that arm you've known for years
raw, inside out, near wanton run of red vessel and nerve,
once a sin to look, weirdly now,
what should be hidden. Oh, it's garish
                                                                equals austere.
Compute. Does not compute. Tell me.
Then tell me who that
me is, or the
you understood, the any of us, our precious
everything we ever, layer upon
bright layer.

Copyright © 2014 Marianne Boruch All rights reserved
from Cadaver, Speak
Copper Canyon Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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