The Heart in its Garden

The Garden of Earthly Delights (detail), Hieronymus Bosch

Here in old Hieronymus’s garden of sprouting anuses
and licentious fish is every manner of delight. Yet
how can he have left out the most intimate, so shadowy
familiar, sealed in the chambered flesh in which all yearn?
And with a sudden impulse I dwindle into the canvas
space behind the dancing owl in the green dell, away
from the floating beakers with the hairline cracks.
You meet me near the tree. Holding a razor in your hand,
you draw the blade under the rib below your naked breast,
close to the sternum and through the pericardial sac,
unsheathing the pink wallop of the heart, then, falling back,
wait for my serpent’s glowing eye—it slithers to the cut,
plunging its head beneath the bone, seeking the moist ventricle.
I straddle you, caress your face and nipples with my fingertips;
you draw me deeper into the warm wound. We bleed, our pump
of spurting fluid eternalized in the central panel’s strokes between
beginning and end. The bodies around us interrupt themselves
like awestruck mummers roused from their premortal grace.