Once a year, Melbourne throws open its doors for Open House Melbourne. The poem below was prompted by my day at Open House today, touring the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology (Melbourne Uni). We also walked through the tunnels that run under the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Both these areas are usually closed to the public.
The line is long, and we are fierce.
“We arrived together!” insists the group with bikes
“But we aren’t together,” we correct, and the woman lets us through.
We wait half an hour, more,
Moulages masquerade –
Mermaids are manufactured – all horse-hair and wax,
Topped with a flute for proper exotic flair.
A woman gives her daughter a brilliant explanation of what an umbilical cord is,
and I miss my mum.
Body parts are shattered, separated, strewn across a room
I can’t imagine the function of all these bits
I can’t place them in my own body.
A woman’s tumour has grown its own hair.
What was the purpose of that?
All the million ways
Our bodies will betray us.