Revelation

Jenny George Click to read more...

George+photoJenny George’s poems have recently appeared in Beloit Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, The Collagist, Crab Orchard Review, FIELD, Inch, and Indiana Review. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fund, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo Corporation. Jenny lives in Santa Fe, NM, where she runs a foundation for Buddhist-based social justice. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

 

When the brain stem of a frog
is expertly snipped, the body sac slit,
skin pinned back in flaps and then
the jellies of the chest arranged
to reveal the heart, the heart itself
can be unfastened, clipped, lifted
like a grey pearl on the tip of a knife,
still trembling, and dropped in a beaker of water
where it beats alone
for the lifetime of a minute, sends plumes
of blood into suspension, then beats itself clean,
keeps on beating without brain
or aim, a small fist tightening,
forgetting, and tightening again.
The opened frog rests coolly on a wax tablet.
Gradually the heart in its jar drifts toward stillness.

My father showed me this one day
at his laboratory, afterwards wiping
his scalpel dry with alcohol. I’m not sorry
for the frog. I’m not sorry to know this.

Discussion

2 Responses to Revelation

  1. scottr15 says:

    A fascinating and powerful poem. It’s interesting that dissecting a frog is one of the few experiences that almost everyone has shared, thanks to public school education, and this poem is able to take that mundane shared experience and find the powerful resonances within what would initially seem to be such a clinical and sterilized moment. The imagery of the still-beating heart as a fist particularly entranced me; it’s as if this last still-moving part of the deceased frog is still gripping onto life with a determined tenacity despite the ultimate utility of all such grasping.

  2. Kim says:

    Completely mesmerizing imagery, and the last stanza is perfect.

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