Sample Arm

I have laid it out on the table.
I have laid it out calmly, just to see.
How does it look – my paper limb –
how does it look to me?

It looks like this:
stiff, and brown,
and labelled at the elbow;
labelled at the seams;
with sharp little darts to show the crook –
sharp little darts to show the crease.

At the shoulder there’s a hook,
which is brassy and clean;
it looks a little like the butcher’s hook
that hangs up meat –
but my arm is clean:
there is no blood; there is no meat.

Along the edges there are tiny perforations,
which almost can’t be seen,
and the wrist is cut off cleanly,
where the hand should be.

It lies serenely on the table;
unattached, idealistic, free.
It lies there, looking up at me,
in all my three dimensions,
and it pities me:

it pities all that binding to the solid body;
all that tenuous attachment to the
over-animated hands.

first published in Edinburgh Review, 2015, © Tara Bergin 2015, used by permission of the author.

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