Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist

'Affair with the Professor' by Anna Kisby

He tells me I’m not clever enough
for him. I bathe in tea
to lend my perfect skin
the gravitas of parchment.

He drafts his lines
on me. I admire the unintelligible
slant of his script; ripple
at the scratch of his nib. I learn

to make reams of myself: endless,
disposable, blank. When I speak
my words are chalky; traceless. He licks his fingers
as he turns my pages.

He folds me over
at the corners; leaves me waiting
for days. I crouch on the back shelf,
knees to chin; I am stuck as a baby

in breech. He says it’s complicated
then cracks me open. Inside, he finds
I am clearer than any text. I am something like
a cob-nut. Of this earth and simple
to split.