The Anatomy Lesson

By | 3 February 2024

The bucket of eyes blinks at us.
We each choose a bauble, carbuncular,
gimleted, unflowered irises, winter
buds winking. We draw from the jelly bean
jar, jewellery that watches us, observing
observers, each to an orb.
This is serious work, scalpeled and
steady, a lesson for lab coats, protocols,
process, we’re not pickling onions,
plucking out pills, we get to
uncover the camera’s sclera.
Somewhere, skulls staring, scooped
like an ice-cream, await
their own indignities, their own students.
Our punneted strawberries,
beetling and beady, are blank to
unpeeling, our quiet unpuzzling,
inexpressive, giving nothing away.
At the end of the hour, they’ll
count them away again, these jellyfish
trailing their tentacular nerves,
though there’s nowhere to hide them,
except in our mouths, pebbling,
pliant, cool as a grape,
a swallow of wisdom.
It’s almost too much for some of
the first years, fainting and retching –
that plonk in the bucket, that
frisson of burley, but
I’m busy chewing.

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