Myrna Stone’s depth of historical knowledge and talent for storytelling should not in any way suggest that her technical skills don’t reach the paygrade of poetry’s big leagues, far from it. Wherefore art thou wherewithal to learn, listen, and savor? God help the inattentive reader. An Ohioan, Stone has five other collections in circulation and counts Poetry, The Southwest Review, Quarterly West, and numerous other journals as friends of her work.
The Anatomist, Dr. Antonio Maria Valsalva,
Converses with His Young Bride Over Supper
Bologna, Italy, 1709
My initial foray into human terrain
was spawned, Elena, by my father’s ear
out of which quite often flowed a strain
of viscous pus-filled fluid. Yes, my dear,
of course I tasted it, for I fathomed
even then that physicians should use every
sense in their diagnostics. Yet imagine
the sour tingling on my tongue no slurry
of oak bark blunted until the day grew
late…. Yes, yes, I see…. You now aim
to prevent my testing any cadaver’s glue
if I wish to kiss you? How shall I claim
cures for the living with such a constriction?
Are you ill, wife?—or having a tantrum?
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