Reading at the Anatomy Museum

by Kirsty Logan

Through the stuttering doors of the other

hall lurks a gathering of spare souls who saved

for hardbacked notebooks and empty time

to be filled with fictions. Shivering under

desk lamps, lit by three dozen eyes, they read

words splintered with marrow and memory.


Everyone listening is lost in memory

triggered by the vowels in the story of other

people's mistakes, made real by being read

between these glass-lined walls. Objects saved,

preserved, labeled in tubes, pressed under

slides. Bodies snapshut just in time.


Those remnants absorbed their sun, now it's time

for the papering writers to argue their memory

with confessions. Bones are just bones under

the dress of skin, and now these organs are other,

thoroughly undone, slices of person saved

under microscopes, like palms to be read.


Perhaps the clumsy power of stories being read

could cause organs to flutter, to wake just in time

for these stored body parts to be saved,

to become more than an anatomist's memory.

Perhaps stories can rouse cells merged with other

bodies, hidden beneath strangers' skins, deep under


donated organs. Stories kept warm, pressed tight under

the weight of flesh. If you know how, all bodies can be read

like books, like poems, like scraps of song made of other

lives in cursive. Stories exist as air. They have no time,

no place. Bodies in glass cases are a way to preserve memory,

to label life in neat boxes. A story is shreds of a person, saved.


When the bodies rise, full of prose, finally saved

by story, these sheathed writers will not hide under

their torn pages. They will rise up on bloody memory,

shout their synapses to the roof. For hours they have read

to convince an audience of their solidity. Now there is time

only for verbs. Walls won't hold. There can be no other


use for memory now but to save

the bones of others. Brace them under

the pages you read while you still have time.