Arlene Ang




The shoes are the first to go.
Then the light. The physical bodies

of things that went wrong
emit a diaphanous moon

of their own. The jars are labeled
according to the months

it took the womb
to expel a foreign object.



This here is sucking its thumb.
And here, barely formed,

floats the apostrophe of a dog.
So much that passes for history

passes through these walls.
The cold has its own map to charter;

cracks on the glass keep the window
from flying apart. Symbiosis:

the function of the living to act
as a resting place for the dead.



Fetuses repeat themselves
in various stages of incompletion.

These glass cabinets are murals
of things given up, sightless things

with drowned concubine hearts.
Even the sense of self is a relic,

an experience like putting one’s face
in seawater to inhale salt.

Outside, there’s a woman
with a shovel, distorting the soil.



The eye grows
accustomed to the dark,

the foreign matter
that exists beyond it.

The room shrinks into blood climbing       
down the legs. Even now,

the body is preparing itself to leave.
With the feet stripped of sound,

the wrists spiral outward.
Now the walking is seamless.



Back in high school, we had to walk through this corridor lined with glass cabinets filled with specimen jars to get to the science lab. Since the fetuses were donated to the school, it made me wonder if they came from alumnae. I don't think this was the case, but decades later I dreamed about being a dead alumna haunting this corridor in order to commune with her unborn children.