The model stands full-figure, draped
but with the anatomic pose suggested:
palms open, limbs at rest. The stone
sits veined and pliant, speechless.
He’ll go deeper. What use
is skin? Veiling layers, follicles
and sheen of fat. Muscle implies
movement, even in a statue. Breasts
get in the way. Delineate and probe.
What good are contours but to conceal
Now she comes to life, nerves scraped
bare, tight. Fingers on the blade,
he searches out caverns in a human
figure. Lungs and bowel, the total
plumbing. Scaffolding of bone.
Yet she has no voice.
He sculpts the larynx, ticks it
with his tool. So she’ll learn
She never claimed it might save
the soul. But on its thick green stem forever
bloomed nutrition, which is the flower of life.
Forget that. She never got into
philosophy, but only government pamphlets
illustrating the basic food groups,
the pyramid guide to daily choices
under which she buried Hershey’s kisses, lolly-
pops and animal crackers, and anything else
that tasted good.
Broccoli densely clumped the garden;
steamed a winter kitchen,
puzzled a paring knife, how to cut
neat florets from the fibrous stem
to fortify a soup. None of it
beautified her mind
which is the flower of life and daily choices,
kisses, animal lolly and everything
that tastes good.
©2004 by Taylor Graham
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. Her poems appear in Grand Street, The Iowa Review, The New York
Quarterly, Slow Trains, and elsewhere. Her work is included in the new anthology,
California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara