Real Bodies in Belém

strand of spider silk from eyelid to shoulder
contrasts with the gymnast’s pubic hair, 
coral-colour muscle flays as feathers on a running man 
who won’t fly with feet planted on the platform
slender, uniform, as if it were one person in all the positions
only brows and lashes form a distinction
blow dust from a bicep 

– sit down – 

digestive systems mounted in cases, neutral bluepurplebeige
are contemporary art pieces
the boobs seem stuck on
and we laugh
or not

she must’ve been gorgeous once

the niche, the cavern at the base of her spine is for life
four week old sea monkeys
we watch them blossom in their tubes, skinless
press against the cylinders 
soak in formaldehyde

 – rest on each other next to the toilets, Mogwai plays – 

blood vessels of face and neck a red thicket 
bronchi sponges form a human reef
where there are clown fish 
(there aren’t, they’re at the other end of Lisbon, we saw)
I expect them to emerge brushing orange scales on tricolour branches

artery pancake
makes placenta, pan fried
candy floss for dessert just pink plastic casts of respiratory systems
and then there’s some cancer

heart and lungs a factory made by a child
with many tunnelly rooms 
so much space behind valves


transparent coronal sections of the brain 
of a guy with a beard 
his whole head in resin 

the cleaner catches up 
swabs the feet of a body builder
with her fluffy duster
her son trails behind
stops, stares, unblinking 
Guillermo Del Toro child of four
ignores the plastinated people
eye contact traces me as I move
easily, he’s the creepiest being in here 

– pause in the gift shop – 

and we wrote to say thank you
in the visitors’ book
we even drew a pole dancer
with her skin on

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