Cynthia Arrieu-King


The gym. Milk-breathed girls sweat in their polyester, press
pencil tips into those answer dots. That
standardized test measured aptitudes:
crafts, metallurgy, would you enjoy watching for forest fires?

Who can confuse the speed of bricks
traveling from a height that could kill
with the time it takes the car to arrive in Houston?

My results: suited to be a taxidermist.

Thing is, a gorilla weighs eight hundred pounds. That's
an intricate set of initial cuts around the wrists,
feet: methods and methods for
how to ball straw to fill the space

inside shampooed black fur.
I felt for him, really, all that masterful flesh in a pail,
all that staring and being space.

Failing once, failing hugely
stands all day,

like an extraneous nurse near the cold wall.
It's an all day case,
the world famous thoracic surgeon
can look at the aorta his own damned self,

and what to do,
pulling your gloves off, and the blue puffed hat?




This poem draws on sculptor Tish Quisenberry's assessment of the PACT, Tim Bovard taxiderming a gorilla, Dr. Samuel Pollock's thoracic surgery expertise, something scribbled on a napkin at the Spoke in Amherst, and the many times I have wondered, which blue surgical footie goes on which shoe, and being happy as I recall that it really does not matter.