I open the body, but don’t see the papaya seeds
Brown riches, bursting against the orange fruit
Of this person, unanimated, under glass.
One dessicated, Inuit anonymous man, eyes shut too loosely against pain
Ten thousand words for melted snow in water running from his eyes
Pink adipose like whale blubber, consumed by chemicals, then stripped away
So this man could be part of an exhibit in Germany
Preserved for all time as memoriam, as living proof
That people could be taken, stripped, studied
That people could be specimens
That fruit could be dried, tasteless, visible. Displayed, even
And not called by the name it knows.
Chaya Bhuvaneswar is a practicing physician and writer whose work has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Tin House, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Awl, jellyfish review, aaduna and elsewhere, with poetry forthcoming in apt magazine and Hobart. Her poetry and prose juxtapose Hindu epics, other myths and histories, and the survival of sexual harassment and racialized sexual violence by diverse women of color. She recently received the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Prize, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship and a Henfield award for her writing. Her poem, Opa was nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize.
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