Saturday, September 18, 2010



My body has returned
piece by piece, demanding redress.

First came the stomach,
with its dour breath and yeasty gripes,

then the heart
spewing gibberish, strangled
in a nest of veins.

The skin and fat arrived together, one
lumpen parka, mute and speckled.

The eyes showed up separately, unconcerned
with each others whereabouts.

The uterus was
as usual confused.

The shy tongue remained
slavishly shackled to the brain,
where it was always most comfortable.

Forearms, fingers, toes
and knees wandered in as well.

I still don't know how they found me.
There aren't near enough chairs.
They just stand here, watching.

Sensing them, my ribs
winged open against my will.

There remains to this day
a long and awkward silence.

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

Frank Moraes said...

I don't know why genitalia are always confused—just seems to be the way with that part of the body. This poem reminds me that I read somewhere recently that over the course of one year, only 5% of you remains. That is to say: 95% of your cells are replaced with new ones. So the idea that we are anything is questionable. To me it is clear in the fact that when I am happy, I have no memory of ever being sad. And when I am depressed—well, that's very dangerous. Just gotta use your intellectual capacity to work it out: this has always been temporary before. Of course, there is no before; there is just now.

Which all has nothing to do with what you wrote. Well, little anyway. The poem reminds me of Becket's short plays. If he had been an animator, I can see him piecing together parts of a body and then just leaving it standing there on the "stage" not knowing quite what to do.

I feel quite estranged from certain parts of my body. I don't even know their names. It is some part of my stomach, esophagus—definitely the esophagus, regular intestines and the fluffy ones. They aren't team players, I can tell you that! And, of course, I keep hunting around for a soul. Nothing's turned up yet. I imagine it being very soothing, but maybe my continual heartburn is my soul. Is it sane of me to seek my soul when I know God is evil?

My tongue is not shy...