Thursday, September 24, 2015


Wax male anatomical figure, Italian, 1776-1780,
Science Museum, London, Wellcome Images.

It’s an additive process, this rendering
what seems flayed so we can understand
the missing surface better. Each soft
scrape of wax pressed against the armature
like a kiss (red for muscle, yellow for tendon
and ligament, white for bone) brings me
closer to a graveyard fact: it’s the surface
that often falls away first, that same
surface through which we learn pain,
comfort, closeness, isolation. Oh my dear
dead teachers, anatomists and artists who
broke the seal of skin in your hunt for bone-
deep truth, you’d be astonished at the sight
of me, your unrecognizable future: this woman
warming wax between her fingers, adding on,
slowly building up her own body of work.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Russell Lee, "Water witch walks in the direction that stick heads him.
Pie Town, New Mexico
," 1940, found via this article

I run a fingernail along that branching
witch-hazel, feeling for a thrum at every
Y. Yes, the answer comes, pick me, cut
here. My penknife slips as it bites in, and
I nick myself right at the moment I sever
branch from limb. A little blood wet on
the blade and the branch—a small give-
back to the brushy tree—and I’m almost
ready. I’ll be over there, over those hills,
walking the dry land, palms up and fingers
lightly wrapped around the Y as it calls
out down through rock, nods when the
water held in the branch is answered by
the water down below. No matter how
far off or deep, no matter how parched,
water will find water, the cut tree sings.