A LOVE LETTER TO THE CADAVERS WHO TWICE SAVED MY LIFE
To the loved ones,
to the covered ones,
to the lost and bound ones.
To you, organ donor
to you who couldn’t bury her.
I am alive because of you.
After an illustration in De Monstres by Fortunius Licetus, 1665
A five-breasted woman on a pedestal
opens her arms and splays her fingers—
her eyes to the curtains.
A heavily dressed man looks on,
one hand on the rope that revealed her,
the other on an open book.
An elephant man withdraws
into the shadows, his tusks sheathed in gloom.
A two-headed man turns his gaze
while his brother nods, slowly, to the side.
An animal with a human head is content
to watch, and to smile, beatifically.
A jackal-headed man looks to the audience
with a grin that knows.
Only one man bows his head
as she lifts her triumphant arms.
She bids you welcome, monster.
courtney bates-hardy is the author of House of Mystery (2016) and Sea Foam (2013). Her poems have appeared in Room, This Magazine, and the Canadian Medical Association Journal, among others. She lives in Regina with her partner and their cat.
deathcap is Coven Editions' online literary mag featuring a curated collection of poetry, fiction and community pieces. Review our Submissions Guidelines for more information if you are interested in contributing to deathcap.