London
The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace
Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist

‘Leonardo’s Foetus’ by Kevin Salmon

You have no story. All you ever knew
was warm contentment, amniotic bliss,
the constant rhythm of a constant heart.
But Leonardo shows us none of this.

Instead, cold flesh anatomised, a womb
sliced open like some bulging sun-ripe fruit.
Huddled, crouching, softly damp, curled in:
its core is all that now remains of you.

All fodder for the artist’s hungry eye,
as deftly he deployed his chalks and pen
in highlights, outlines, hatching, shades and tints.
And as his ink dried out so did your skin.