Ciphers

This entry is part 1 of 47 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2012

“The spleen is 1″ by 3″ by 5″, weighs approximately 7 oz, and lies between the 9th and 11th ribs on the left hand side.” ~ Wikipedia

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“Falsely, the mortal part we blame
Or our depressed, and pond’rous frame…”
~ Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, “The Spleen” (1709)

 

Should I hollow out one more secret
space beneath the swarm of organs

pumping out their rhythms, should I
carve a door under the floating disks

of threaded bone that ladder up
the spine— What if I should find,

after all, that the liver’s field
of indigo blooms with asterisks

on the machine? And what if the spleen’s
lopsided house is sown with husks

that tumbled, crumbling from the eaves
above? And what if the kidneys

spread their wings like butterflies
and wrote a silver question mark?

Fireflies glint like signals along a street
lined with magnolias— dusky but for their

faint edge of white, their creamy perfumes
heavy in the heat of this first summer night.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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