Ambroise Paré

By SUSAN KINSOLVING
A war surgeon, he saw all losses: life being
the larger part; limbs the lesser. Legs hanging
from trees; on the field, hands disarmed.
Teeth missing; toes afloat in a bucket of blood.
A competent carpenter, he sawed and drilled,
pulled with pliers, hammered and hacked.
Much symmetry was skewed, gaps and gapes,
the glaring absence of an eye, gouged
and gone, bulging on the tip of a bayonet
or staring up from the ground, its final site.
Paré didn’t like the look of it; being French,
he began to paint. On tiny metal discs, covered
with chamois, he made the marks of a pupil,
and soon became an artisan, attending to the iris
and its color wheel. A cord was tied around
each patient’s head to keep the enameled artifice
in place. Paré called his creation an Ekblepharon,
eked from the Greek. He also sculpted hands and feet,
bringing such pieces to the maimed men, offering his eyes
as a new point of view, an ultimate trompe l’oeil.

 

Susan Kinsolving has published the poetry collections The White Eyelash, Dailies & Rushes, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Among Flowers,and the forthcoming My Glass Eye. As a librettist, she has had works performed with the Marin Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, Glimmerglass Opera, and The Baroque Choral Guild in New York, The Netherlands, Italy, and California.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 02 here.]

Ambroise Paré

Related Posts

Gabriella Fee

June 2022 Poetry Feature: Gabriella Fee

GABRIELLA FEE
Death springs from me like a hothouse flower. / My mother swaddles me in terrycloth / and vigils me for three days in her bed. / Pillbox. Rice and lentils. Kettle. Psalm. / She dims the lights as though I were a moth. / She combs my hair.

Image of Zhang Qiaohui and Yilin Wang's headshots.

Translation: “Soliloquy” by Zhang Qiaohui

ZHANG QIAOHUI
You know where Grandma is buried, but do not know / where Grandma’s Grandma is / Jiaochang Hill’s graves have long been displaced, now covered with lush greenery / In the mortal world, a saying, “to have no resting place even after death” / I stand at the old burial ground.

Tree

May 2022 Poetry Feature

By ELIZABETH METZGER
For now, let us choose not to remember / who said History repeats as Tragedy then Farce, / and who else / repeated such nonsense / with variations because, friends, allow me / to be pedantic, just this moment. History repeats / as Tragedy more than once.