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  • Lea Harper

Poem: Body Parts



The one gift she gave him that was truly appreciated

was the bottle opener in the shape of a woman,

her arms on hinges, a cork screw between her legs.


I am a woman

I have many functions.

What is there to fear?


I see myself reflected

In your rear view mirror.

You smile as if you know me.

Of course you do,

my body parts are strewn around

your kitchen like utensils.

My stainless steel legs crack nuts at Xmas.

My mouth is a bottle opener.

I can flip your lid with friendly precision

without spilling a drop of that frothing

head of beer.


There is nothing I can’t do.

I stand with my hands over my head

all night, like Atlas

holding up the lamp shade

even when you snore.


I pop out of cuckoo clocks and cakes.

My head adorns the prow of your ship,

the one smacking the dock.


But I will collect myself

piece by piece

until you show me the door –

the peephole, my vagina.

How does one reclaim a hole

and how is it taken in the first place?


You examine me with the professional interest

of a dentist probing a cavity.

Does a hole really exist

unless there’s something around it

to prove it, or inside to fill it up?


Could you repeat the question

if there ever was one?

Remember the flayed breasts of Indian girls

turned into tobacco pouches?

(Pocahontas, licked like a stamp)

Nothing is hypothetical.

Each day we ride out our night mares.

After you pick my brain

you’ll use my skull as an ashtray.


Woman, be grateful

your thighs are not really ivory

or your lips rubies,

that you do not possess

the gall bladder of a bear

or the anal gland of a musk oxen.

How would you escape the reach of the pirate?


Even so

you are far too interesting to pass up.

Gather what’s yours.

Disappear before you are declared a museum,

before you become the footstool of God.



“Body Parts” appeared in the author’s first collection, All That Saves Us, Black Moss Press, Windsor, ON, 1998.


(c) Lea Harper, 1998



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