[10.5 ToC]



Eric Weinstein


Note the dark concavity of the skull.
     (Inside it the night is very long.)

The architecture of the inner ear
     a marvel: hammer & anvil, hammering

away in the long night. Here is the heart
     with six wings (fig. b). Primordial

dragonfly, it hovers all day over water (remember
     that water, like all things, casts a shadow).

See here the shadows of the ribs
     over the lungs: thin, insisting,

rungs of a bowed ladder folding
     like wind into night, into longing, into night.



You bury a light bulb in the yard
& grow a blown glass tree.

It's all your parents talk about
for hours after you've gone to sleep.

By morning the branches are hung
with tungsten leaves. The neighbors

complain because it attracts lightning,
even though it glows like an echo-

cardiogram for hours after each strike.
You are asleep when your father rakes

a chainsaw across the trunk, but the sound
carries & you wake, you run out, shouting

I'll never forgive you, not ever. Of course you do,
hours later. A persistent cough carries you

to the emergency room, or rather, your father does.
They remove a filament from your tongue,

a spun glass feather from your trachea.
There were never any birds, your mother says.

The fiberoptic bronchoscope proves
otherwise: they find a miniature light

bulb, glass sapling, copper wire nest
& remove them from your lung.

Imagine that, the doctors say, voices
carrying through the anesthesia.

Imagine that, your mother says, so you do,
or rather, you remember your tree.

It's all the surgical team talks about
for hours while you're asleep.

It's all the surgical team talks about
for hours after you've gone home.



When you left for a week
I added teeth forged from bone,
coal-fired, fossilized, formed

from the horns of a triceratops.
As for the bones themselves: wood,
burnt & polished, furnished when

you said this isn't working. I was working,
fashioning faces from bullet casings,
possible eyes from black volcanic

glass, a modern-day Vulcan. The day
you left for good, it grew as tall as the room
(in truth, I'd burnt the baby

grand & mixed the ashes with
old dishwater for more clay).
They say these chimeras

are mute by nature, though
this one would sit in the bathroom
all night, echoing the sound

of dripping fixtures (my fault
for adding parrot feathers,
a howler monkey's heart). & yes,

I could have erased the truth
burnt into its forehead, left
only death and it would

have listened. I could have built
thirty birdhouses from the body.
—No, not really. The truth is,

I'd designed a device to recite
my vices. It needed a voice.
I gave it yours.






These poems are from a chapbook, Vivisection, published by New Michigan Press (2010). "Anatomy Lesson (I)" is the first of a four-part exploration of the human body. "Persistence of Memory" and "Golem" are based on real events.