A poem by Vievee Francis, faculty member of the Festival and Conference on Poetry

Book of Wounds

There are no cures in the book of wounds.
Nor are there pictures or penned illustrations;
though there are significant footnotes and
editor’s marginalia that may salve or temporarily
staunch a minor cut or burn. And
there are exhaustive descriptions,
suggested treatments, even an invitation
in Appendix IV to prick yourself
and taste the blood of your own
finger, or simply press your finger to the blank
space provided. Properties matter.
The book is heavy, as if it held organs
instead of discourse upon organs.
The poem of the body will be explicated
with a surgeon’s eye for detail. And each
body being in its sum so like another really –
the differences being materially superficial –
there is no need for series, or even a second
volume. Once upon your shelf, this text alone
will suffice, prove its use, provide endless hours
of reference and weeping.


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