A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms

Under the Microscope

by Andrea O’Brien

Our living parts become works of art,
even the bacteria that cling
to what is most vulnerable and dark

the skin, the winding thoroughfare that starts
at the mouth. We are nomads who bring
with us these living parts like works of art.

LookStarry Night resides deep in your heart,
and across my nail bed Seurat’s bustles swing.
The places most vulnerable and dark

house our microbial masterpieces, which dart
about and seek out company in clumps and strings.
Our living parts become works of art,

especially the pathogens that cart
disease from host to host. How else could we wring
joy from this vulnerable vale in the dark?

Magnified, we discover the mark
we share, the one that binds us in clumps and strings.
In the livingand the partingwe learn the art
of loving what makes us vulnerable and dark.

Andrea O’Brien’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Hopkins Review, Connecticut Review, Nimrod, and New York Quarterly. In 2007, the Kentucky Foundation for Women awarded her an Artist Enrichment grant to support the writing of her second collection of poems. She lives in Denver with her husband and works as a writer and editor.


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