Entering the Body

by Michelle Bonczek Evory

Entering the Body

after Gunter von Hagen’s Body Worlds

All I could think of at first
was cooking. Of that skinned

rabbit in my freezer, fur torn, gaze
jammed between a package of phyllo

and a carton of ice cream.
Of all that succulent meat

dripping from its own skeleton,
sweet marrow and a bottle of merlot, but

even here
I end up in the palace of longing.

Caught in the arms of no arms.
Trying to bend a body

to my own. A skeleton
follows its muscled canvas

and I long
to be inside one, to hold
the other.

But you can’t translate flesh.

Not with polymer, nor contemplation,
not even with a prolonged hand

shake or make out session.
Not in the slow unbuttoning

of a wine-stained blouse or in the stripping
of tendon from bone, muscle filleted

into C-section, pelvis cavity unsewn.
In this case, a uterus

the size of a thumb. Inside me, one jabs
like an eyelash in the heavens (yes,

the heavens). Here in this museum,
two blue eyes drift from two halves

of a severed head. How long do we stare
into mirrors. So long, I know,

my eyes roll
from their pockets till they bump
my tiny

tiny ossicles dripping notes
into my ears, not yet
not yet.

But flesh will not wait.
I want to wrap my arms around this

sculpture’s waist and ask him, anything?
Nuzzle my chin in the meat-cleave

of his shoulder. Play my fingers
over his bones, over his exposed

vertebrae like a vibraphone.
Lick his neck until his brain coral


Best New Poets 2013

Michelle Bonczek Evory's picture

Michelle Bonczek Evory is the author of The Art of the Nipple (Orange Monkey Publishing, 2013) and the forthcoming Open SUNY Textbook Naming the Unnameable: An Approach to Poetry for New Generations. Her poetry is featured in the 2013 Best New Poets Anthology and has been published in over seventy journals and magazines, including Crazyhorse, cream city review, Green Mountains Review, Orion Magazine, and The Progressive. She holds a PhD from Western Michigan University and MFA from Eastern Washington University, taught most recently at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and mentors poets at The Poet’s Billow (thepoetsbillow.com).

Last updated April 09, 2015