Eleni Sikelianos

from Body Clock




“of spatial magnitude, or of the extension of a body in the several dimensions of space”

“Growth involves the same concepts of magnitude and direction [as]… the ‘dimension’ of Time”

—D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson












Monday, here am I, mortal
machine, clicking in the toothed
metal of time, altricial (born naked and nearly
blind). The traveling bag of my
existence (left lung
slightly smaller to accommo-
date the heart) is having a conversation
with itself (medulla
talking to shin). Your brain too
is having a conversation with the body.
Heart walks down the street, Boston
attached to [a] woman / man / spring day / lovely
in the semilunar valves of the heart












what will the baby be shaped like?
will she come out round with a red
rose tattoo?



with wing of the ilium?

Body said, What?


will she come out innominate
with many parts otherwise unnamed; as, the innominate artery, a great branch of the arch of the aorta; the innominate vein, a great branch of the superior vena cava

Body said, What?

——bed she built——

when she lies down     when she arises
from the placenta’s vascular sheets

touching all the quantum fields she walked through to
greet me

pools of intricate color collect on the face












heart was
found asymmetrically
locked in the chest      You can’t make it
turn round      not around



pierce the
porous skin of
a minute       see time bleed out


















midnight / noon
is at the crown

twelve fifteen is
at the lips





the breastbone brushes three
& the wishbone splits






Eleni Sikelianos is the author of one book of nonfiction and five books of poetry. Most recent titles are The California Poem (Coffee House Press) and The Book of Jon (Nonfiction/Hybrid, City Lights). Her poems have been translated into French, Spanish, Catalan, German, Arabic, Romanian, Croatian, Slovenian, and Serbian. A book of selected poems is currently being translated into French; also appearing next year is her translation of Jacques Roubaud’s Exchanges on Light. She currently lives in Colorado with the novelist Laird Hunt and their daughter Eva Grace.