Figure 1. by Robin Gow

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Narrated by Robin Gow


Figure 1. by John Philip Johnson
Illustration by Sue Babcock
            The lab report

tells the narrative

of a dissected shark.

            Label: heart

brain    kidneys            feathers

            lockets                         fears 

torment            firecracker

summer                                    2017

                        the smooth rocks

a lost sandal

I draw arrows to label all these
items inside the shark.

            I stick the scalpels
in the walls to keep them still

            while I work. 

Still they quiver and
crave their own arrows.

            Arrows grow out of my mouth
and point to all the things
I’ve eaten:

            the beautiful names of moons
the beautiful quadrantes

            of patchwork space.

One arrow says:
            This is where he-she ate
                        a tablespoon of hope.

I think this is definitely a lie
            because I would have remembered
eating hope

            what with all the feathers
and the songbird singing.

I focus on the shark 
            I took apart.

I ask the shark if the arrows hurt
and the shark cries formaldehyde.

            I tell the shark to point
to help me find its eyes 

            and the shark pulls
them out of its stomach:

            two glinting brooches    

someone’s mom used to wear. 

BIO: Robin Gow is a poet and LGBTQ+ educator. His first full-length poetry collection is forthcoming with Tolsun Books and his second is forth-coming with Weasel Press. Robin has facilitated LGBTQ+ inclusivity trainings for universities and healthcare networks across the country.