Canon by Lynn Pattison

Nicole’s doctor says she has a portion of intestine that’s twisted in over itself, a knot that needs fixing. No inkling of what he’ll find. Everything in her gut is looped. Not in the normal way the gut turns back and forth upon itself, but in graceful arcs, spiraling passages that look worked by artists’ hands. Vessels to or from her kidneys, her gall bladder, lacy traceries. Slender curved arteries remind him of glass condensers back at the lab. Blood vessels wind in Escher progressions, then trace fragile branchings around the surface of the pancreas and spleen. He would like to see her lungs and heart, but sticks to his task. He works gracefully and rhythmically, guided by the music she requested: Pachelbel. The surgeon tries to smooth Nicole’s intestine back into what he guesses was the original pattern. Almost doesn’t want to sew her up, fascinated by this intricate clockwork. He takes photos, spends the rest of his life trying to convince someone to reconstruct his own insides to such singular beauty.

Michigan poet, Lynn Pattison’s work has appeared in The Notre Dame Review, Rhino, Harpur Palate, Smartish Pace, Rattle, Tinderbox, Slipstream and Poetry East, among others, and been anthologized in several venues (most recently in NASTY WOMEN POETS, An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, ed. Grace Bauer & Julie Kane, Lost Horse Press, University of Washington). She is the author of three collections: tesla’s daughter (March St. Press); Walking Back the Cat (Bright Hill Press) and Light That Sounds Like Breaking (Mayapple Press).

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