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As the scalpel peeled the skin from the intestines,
A week's decay gave evidence of its workings.
One boy drew back in a kind of horror.
But dead is dead, and dead
Is numb to its own destructions.
I can gut fish without feeling,
Slit the skin from anus to gills,
And unravel the guts to the gulls.
It's only hospitals that give me horror,
The freak museums where catheterized flesh
Drains to glass and porcelain,
Where the human form is pinned
Like a worm on a tray of wax and water,
Where the mind rises from barbiturates to the sight
Of the white robes of science in a laboratory light.

Copyright © 2003 Hugh Cook

Picture of front cover of ARC OF LIGHT poetry collection by Hugh Cook.

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