Let Me Open You a Swan
Autopsy: To See For Yourself
In the vaults the Master lays the body on the table.
Tenderly he lifts the knife exposing the parts,
touching the body to put a lesson on it, noting
the way the clavicle's fixed with a glue that hardens
like the gum that holds butterfly eggs to a branch.
In the cloister students gather bringing bread
and wine. They have come seeking a lesson.
Amid the sweat and sweetness they work to decipher
the body, to see what is glued together, what floats
in its oily waters. And you are here also, witness
to these rituals, the aligning of descendant with
descendant, cause with cause. Sometimes there's
a flickering of light that falls on the scene.
Sometimes the whole flock lifts.
The mind's a mad cupboard, blackened silver, cups and thimbles.
The mind's a jerky focusing machine still stuck on the girl
who hung by her knees.
And within the camera [opening : closing] - fireworks.
I mean within the empty box the light's frantic,
grappling with : the monk, the match, the gasoline.
The mind is likewise occupied, its light piteously stark, distorted
- but which if us can ever look away?
Into the angular cranium levers lift cold light, but
how dark and small the box.
And hands must hold the camera still, so stop your breath
[so stop your breath]
That's how you coax something into the box, something bloody or blood-lit,
a headless rooster or snipe - your attention split.
Seeing the two worlds.