Summer 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 PoetryJune 11, 2023 |

The Patient as Anatomical Venus

The Kenyon Review · The Patient As Anatomical Venus Who has not wanted to saw a trapdoor Into the chest of a beautiful woman, lift Layer after layer, tender as an archaeologist, Traveling into the past — skin, fat, fascia, bone, Viscera, bone— the kaleidoscope, the mirror Into the future, where I can scrape the velvet Topography under her body bald. Who could Blame me for wanting to be the phantom hand Holding the scalpel, holding her hand down, Instead. There is a danger that circles beauty In a moon, another that kills by neglect. Which End is best: natural, unnatural; the attended Or unattended death. To live years after, a name In a stranger’s mouth or a figure naked, on display. I stare into the form of another imagined woman A trunk of dust-furred family heirlooms, black box, Birdcage, seamless safe, a hedge maze dazzled With dawn-lit dew, a dirt-walled den, down-lined Nest, the nacre smoothing the rough tooth of grit Middling the globe of a pearl. The o

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Maggie Queeney is the author In Kind, winner of the 2022 Iowa Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of the 2019 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize, the Ruth Stone Scholarship, and Individual Artists Program Grants from the City of Chicago in 2019 and 2022. Her most recent work can be found or is forthcoming in Guernica, The Missouri Review, and The American Poetry Review. She reads and writes in Chicago.

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