Written by A.J. Rau

Image: I opened a book and found the sky… by Veronica Lavia

There must be a few coils remaining
In the winding spiral
Of our bowels
That some ancient
Medical illustrator has not yet finished
Drawing: a picture, we assume,
He will detail as he revises the early drafts,
The ones we are
Most familiar with. Our ignorance
Of his handiwork is nothing
Short of pitiful: we could romanticize
For hours about DaVinci’s attention
To Lisa’s fingers, yet, if pressed
For an answer, we could not remember
Who drew the mottled, burgundy liver
We first saw in grade school,
in the fist-thick science book.
How many years have we assumed
That some unkempt beard was arched
Over a lighted desk, among emptied chairs
In a drafting room,
Meticulously crafting the human lung
With the precision of an architect
Wheezing over his original,
The one he subtly ameliorates
Each year? Does he wish that we might pause,
Return to the literatures of before,
And reacquaint ourselves with those
insightful and didactic captions,
Even if we passed over the artist’s credit?

As far as I am concerned,
He decided where the guts went,
Where each digit would bend.
If he isn’t already there,
He is on his way back to the drafting board,
Rolling the Chinese medicine balls
In his hands, awaiting the whisper of a muse,
with a surprise, boiling.

This work was featured in issue #1

One thought on “Illustration

  1. Ashley

    It feels like the “medical illustrator” referred to is some kind of god. Is that a correct reading?

    Curious if others are reading it that way or got something else from it.

    Anyway, fascinating intersection between art and the body.


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