Dana Guthrie Martin

Setting the Table with My Body

Empty my skull and turn it upside down to house
weed-flowers whose heads rise in lewd cacophony.
Make my breasts into sippy cups for water and wine.
Weave my nervous system into loose napkins
that drape each guest’s lap. Slice my vagina
down the middle lengthwise to make a fine set
of olive dishes. Lay out my hands for use as tines.
Employ my stomach as a soup tureen, then carve
my humerus into a ladle. Serve my feet as
the entrée for those I never admired. Give them
the gristle and the bone. Force them to gnaw
through my calluses, driven animal-mad
by my salt. For those I adored, the abdomen,
the sweet lobes of my brain and ass, the neck
they longed to nuzzle, all marinated in my juices
and roasted on a spit for hours. Let them shave me
off in pieces, my tender chunks falling to their plates
with a moist, satisfying smack. And you, the man
I love, turn the spit. Mind the place settings. Follow
these directions with care so you may one day dine
with no regret or nostalgia, everything as it should be:
porcelain dishes, glass stemware, and no fetid uterus
propped in the corner passing itself off as modern art.


Dana Guthrie Martin lives in Kansas City with her husband, Jon, and their beloved Chihuahua, Cricket “Miss B” Hayden. Her work appears in Barrow Street, Boxcar Poetry Review, Failbetter, Fence, Knockout Literary Magazine, and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbooks include In the Space Where I Was (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012), Toward What Is Awful (YesYes Books, 2012), and The Spare Room (Blood Pudding Press, 2009). She is the founding editor of Cascadia Review, an online poetry journal dedicated to showcasing the work of poets in the Cascadia bioregion. Earlier this year, Martin was diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency. She thanks all blood and plasma donors for their life-saving donations to those in need. She blogs about poetry, health, and other topics on her site.