11 December 2008 | Vol. 8, No. 4

Dissecting the Automaton

Thankless work. Like seeing only yellow

         scallops in the plant named Cowardly Lion. Later, I dream blue light

of a laboratory and a mechanical lion,

         stopped and splayed before surgery. I'm nurse, nurturer, old

knife-girl drawing the moon like iron through the far skylight. The vents sliding

         temperate breaths through metal.

I love an animal that'll open

         like a girl—that first cut into the lion's

mushroom-soft copper

with my oxblood razor. The rib cage opens like French doors

         onto a balcony strung with red lights. The lion's eyes roll

their walleyed pupils of glass

         even the opiates don't darken. What's found, what's given over

to the realm of the nurse's

         silver fingers tipped in mercury—a little manicured death

she sweats up in the dark. Sewn up, I sync

the lion's steps with the night garden's scents—its sterile

         black grasses, its curt

valves of lavender.

About the author:

Anna Journey is the author of If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (University of Georgia Press, 2009), winner of the National Poetry Series. She's currently a PhD candidate in creative writing and literature at the University of Houston, where she also serves as a poetry editor for Gulf Coast.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Anna Journey at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 8, No. 4, where "Dissecting the Automaton" ran on December 11, 2008. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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