"De dissectione partium corporis humans"

The dissections,
vivisections and even a little body snatching
stolen in the night

though seldom did Charles Estienne
snatch a body thanks
to the constant supply of criminals

in the 1530’s the stench of a rapidly
decomposing corpse
needed more than a splash of lavender water

and it is with gratitude France made good
use the gallows.
I wouldn’t like to think it was a woman

of the street, a petty thief struggling
her whole life
although by the time Charles Estienne

laid her dear dead body bare
decency didn’t come into it. After all,
a discovery is a discovery.

After careful examination
it was drawn and labelled in a woodcut
of a female nude pleasingly

displaying her genitalia
but the function of the discovery, the amazing
clitoris was explained

as something to do with the
urinary system. A shame to think
the same mistake is made by men today.


Alison Eastley
Alison Eastley lives in Tasmania, Australia with my two sons in a small house in the conservative 'Bible-belt' North West coast with too many Evangelists knocking on doors. Nevertheless, she finds that living near the ocean is a beautiful experience with the sounds of the waves being an everyday event.