Dissection I

By Zeynep Uzumcu

Sun in summertime: the way skin mottles itself with the memory of heat.

How the prone body in sand is pinned down by some fathomable weight of photon.

When I open his freckled skin, I strip away like nothing the emblems by which he knew himself. Years ago:

He had turned one way or another at the bathroom mirror, checking the army tattoo slumping 

Down the age of his chest, studying himself for some recognition of the changed body.


Things go. So too, a dream of the self. 

In this laboratory, it is the biting inner cheek of it, proceeding with competence.  

But tonight: just me & him, the slow undressing with scalpel.

Brush of white stubble, the brown & hard fingernails, but also the tearing of fascia, 

Spreading muscles, feeling for structures earned in a lifetime: stored, even in their matted thicket of fat. 


So full, the feat of accumulation, of gathering one entirety in a lifetime. 


Atlantic City, 1968: his honeymoon. Dawn is severing the edge of the ocean, 

& he holds her waist with a wiry arm, newly tattooed with her name on the bicep. 

Two bodies in the sand, & the neap tide is sighing wordless tankas. 


That is a single now & they are so far away from this now.

I think of each moment somewhere stored within his cells, flesh that tabulates & occludes. 

To dismantle him so thoroughly & never dissect the cell of experience.


July: I lie on the sand & crystallize this hour to a sunburn. 

Lovely children, grandmothers, lovers are sharing a ration of this summer that is passing on, 

That is becoming a part of the specimen.


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