Anatomy as Art


Instead of consuming children,
as Goya would have it,
we are preying on the carcasses
of the elderly.
I am ashamed of the damage and disfigurement
that I have done, my hands
bound to the scalpel.
I confess.
My cadaver (you break it, you buy it of course)
has been skinned, his muscles
divided into easily distinguishable layers,
eyes cut out, head chopped not so neatly in half,
tongue frozen in midair like
two caterpillars victim to a child
with a can of starch.
The Garden of Earthly Delights
is an anatomy lab on the 7th floor of a brick building
in the middle of the west.
In the beginning, we were born into this profession
by putting on new scrubs and unskillfully dissecting the superficial back.
As we cut deeper, we indulged ourselves
in liver and kidney, anything vital we would uncover from
its fascia.  In the final stages we chopped and tore.  With my gloved hands
I ripped out a strip of sacrum.
In the final panel of the triptych,
old people who can’t afford a proper burial
are desecrated for the sin of poverty.
We, the youth, pierce human flesh
with a pair of surgical scissors and
an obscured dream.

April Szafran, Class of 2011