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  • Writer's pictureLammergeier Staff

Two Poems | Corinne Engber

The Body Exhibit

My empty ribcage is a condemned house,

and after years of silence, rusted nails and moths,

I came home to find the locks changed,

the Persian carpets black with dust.

The windows boarded, the

bats and starlings nesting in the attic screamed

when they reached the belfry because that

was boarded up too. Yellow tape brought the explorers,

which brought the local government, which brought

the protesters who clamored: this is good real estate.

The officials agreed. They cleared the fat

from my heart and built a museum. They painted

the walls in cobalt and cadmium and flat white,

installed mahogany paneling—thick strips of zebra wood.

They sanded and polished for days

until my ribs shone like sea glass.

The board said I will open before February,

but first there were health inspections, building codes.

Sheafs of paperwork to determine if I had

been restored to working order.

Their plan is to house upwards of a thousand works,

sculptures from Bourgeois, Salcedo, Weiwei’s vases,

in addition to my black and pink lungs,

which they deemed to be very modern, art.

After the grand opening, they made plans to expand

to my spine by next June, and maybe even my sacrum if people

don’t mind the walk. The clavicle could be used

for storage, they said, because the foundation is strong

and location is everything. At night,

I listened to patrons hum through my chest.

Paying customers wandered through the galleries and

snuck caresses of bone when they thought

no one was looking. People came to breathe inches

from paintings, not noticing the cadmium,

not noticing the zebra wood. And so I have

to wonder, as the days go by, how someone could gaze

at pieces that are so full of life,

and believe that they could house them in me.

Animal Funeral

We are seven hours between homes, halfway

to the old one and I keep spotting bodies.

Some, grisly, span the length of the highway,

thick pinkish stains textured enough to catch

in the treads of my tires.

A single mass spread over a tenth of a mile.

Some are more intact, a bundle

of broken legs and antlers on the side of the road.

They never looked like they were sleeping.

The smallest kills were raccoons, groundhogs;

everything else obliterated into the concrete.

I lose count of deer when I spot a black pile

in the shoulder. It’s a bear,

his snout smeared into the gravel,

his fur still glossy under the clouds.

His ears are soft half-moons.

He has no face.

Corinne Engber is the young adult writer at Jewish Boston and recently completed her MA in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College. She also served as the head poetry editor for Brainchild Magazine, based out of Kent State University. She lives in Boston with her partner and their cat.

Twitter: @corinne_engber

Facebook: Corinne Engber



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