“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

Anatomy Lesson for the Officer

That is your head. That is your heart.
Elbow, bicep, knee, thigh.
And the valve in back of you, your behind,
I think it may be a genital part which
holds your genital part from in front.
I am not saying Go f. yourself.
You have done that. You have f’d our species.
I am saying, That is your holster, your gun,
your handcuffs. And those are his hands in your cuffs.
And that is a human throat you are kneeling
on. That is our throat, our brother’s,
our son’s, maybe our father’s throat.
That is your mother’s, your father’s, your son’s,
your daughter’s throat. That is your daughter’s throat.

Sharon Olds is the author of twelve books of poetry, including most recently Odes (2016) and Stag’s Leap (2012), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize.

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