Hottentot Venus

Overheard in the heat, the air, the fruit fly’ s drone
of the perfect helix, overheard in science’ s repartee

of right and wrong, in the gossip of perfumed women
basking in London’ s charmless sun,

Overheard in the gasps of penny sideshows, the formulas
of doctors summing up freaks in taxidermic clinics,

Overheard in the echo of cubic hallways,
in the speculum’ s wand first tested on the slave woman,

Overheard in history’ s senile tympanum

was a Song.

Rain irrigating fact, jars mapping name,
Recollect my throat, my organs, my bones