Marianna Busching

Ode to the Innards

I sing to what’s inside the skin:
the tough pearly tendons,
wet knobbed bones, striated muscles
red as beef, coils and loops
of writhing sausage grinding, sorting,
small oval glands releasing jets
of green and yellow juices;
the great leathery petals
of heart closing and blooming,
bursting salty liquids and thick red fluid
round in sealed rhythmic routes,
wrinkled gray lumps hunkering
under the skull flashing words and music,
the backs of eyes, veined opal orbs,
the spine with its little reptilian tail
shifting on its delicate watery cushions,
the squid-tentacle of tongue
rashed with tiny needles
hooking into sour and sweet,
slick nostril walls with their stunted human flare,
waxed inner whorl of ear
with its million stalks and rattles,
the cartilage cup of larynx,
pink gristle folds emitting
sounds of angels and of beasts,
the trachea, its thin ivory circlets
ushering in oxygen,
mighty drumhead of diaphragm,
curved bars of rib
guarding soft bags of air,
their endless in-and-out breeze,
tight gusts of effort,
long windy waterfalls of sleep,
esophagus folded flat and long,
the stomach’s dangerous scald,
limp magenta liver packed tight and shining,
exuding bitter bile droplets,
fist of uterus, sweet berries of ovaries,
tender sacs of testes
(cool, noiseless castanets),
porous kidneys, bean-shaped,
and the slender, sour urethra,
transparent topaz slosh in the bladder bag,
the colon shoving its odorous bodily earth,
quiet yellow pads of fat
in cheeks and breasts,
buttocks and thighs,
the strings and nets and globules,
the brilliant colors, mysterious moistures
in undersea darkness,
sunless as the roots of flowers.

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