Studies of an Ox’s Heart, c. 1511–13

After Leonardo da Vinci


The long incision. The incipient voyage from aortic arch to thoracic inlet. Small-particled is the corpuscled city. (Bustling opuscula.) A city of animal electricity. A lowing cycling mass. Calm the cowed heart. Still the browbeating heart. Cool the controversial hearthstone. Let the blade intervene where the divine intersects bovinity.


Pour wax into the gate of an ox’s heart. Close the small doors of the heart via a template of hardened wax, a 
temple of vital gases, water with grass seed suspension, glass blown through a cast of calcined gypsum, plaster of Santo Spirito. Spiritous dissection, blood-sooty vapors, the dense dance of the Renaissance counts down a Galenic pulse. Musculo vivicare. Transit the venous. Bypass the 
arterial. Underscore the two-part cantus firmus in heat and motion.

(The fixed heart burns slow, spurns fervor.)
More Poems by Sylvia Legris