Pathology Report (Veneta Masson)

The specimens
are received
in two containers
specimen No.1
labeled
ovary
the external surface
distorted
by a large
cystic structure
filled with
dark
reddish-brown
material
specimen No.2
labeled
uterus
opening reveals
a mass
with fleshy-pink
whorled surface
the cavity
is compressed
by the mass
representative sections
are submitted

 

Parts of me cut from their moorings
floating placidly
lifted out
by dispassionate hands
measured, weighed
splayed on a counter
so much
once secret
now exposed
old
imperfections
festering
like a failed heart
large, scarred
utterly useless
no matter that
a creation of sorts
suggestive of life
formed
inside
which
at last
cut to the quick
proved counterfeit
stillborn

Discussion Questions

  1. Why does the speaker offer such graphic, distasteful descriptions of her internal organs? What effect does this have on you as a reader? What does this reveal about how she feels about her body and the process of having her organs extracted?
  2. What do you make of the speaker’s connection of these organs with life and fertility near the end of the poem – “a creation of sorts/suggestive of life”? Does this represent a contradiction?
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