Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson
“When we are stuck, most of us look for a way out in the work of others.”
from Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, by Lee Smolin
Strip way the Malmsey and lye, the theatric
alarm tripped by the Dark, warm ghosts of mace
and tobacco and breath, the urge to grimace
at the laid back cadaver whose public
demise lives on as Brooding’s centerpiece--
and we’re left with another way to think:
See for yourself. What is real is the work
we do with our eyes, Prying’s rude science.
As if to say Behold the beholders,
Rembrandt paints us, not unlike you, without
a clue, giddy-eyed as to what matters
most: Doctor Tulp’s cold forceps or is it
Vesalius at Kindt’s cold feet or—over
there—the unseen who sees a work of art?
This poem was originally published in Ekphrasis.
Shelley Benaroya is founding director and teaching artist for the Writing Center for Creative Aging (https://writingcenterforcreativeaging.com/), launched in 2008. Her poetry has appeared in all the sins, Burningwood Literary Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, Letters Journal, The Lyric, The Road Not Taken, Thirteenth Moon, and elsewhere. In 2017, she received the Ekphrasis Prize and a Pushcart Prize nomination.
The Ekphrastic Review
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