The Body Fable

 Kelly Sievers, CRNA

Spring 2005 - Volume 5 Number 2


A girl comes to our sterile cell bearing
nameless snakes on the muscle of an arm,
the rise of her ankle. A jewel blooms
in her navel. When we see the red flush
of her tattooed heart we all want to
touch it. Want to ruffle the plume of
purple that flowers above one breast.
She needs us, surgery, a plucking
of her torment. The surgeon toils
in a small wound avoiding a crown
of blackberry thorns. What light did she
lie beneath for a pen to green this vine
across her hip? We are lured, lost
in the feathered uncurlings of her leaves.
I remember when ‘Desire me’
was a weedy plague I hid within me.
Unfurled, invisible. I looked for
my reflection in every face on the
street. What could they see?
My fingers flutter above gold rings
piercing this girl’s eyebrows. I look
into pinpoint pupils. She ticks in darkness
in the garden of her body.

etoc emailClick here to join the eTOC list or text TPJ to 22828. You will receive an Email notice with the Table of Contents of each issue.

The Permanente Journal advances knowledge in scientific research, clinical medicine and innovative health care delivery. It is a peer-reviewed journal of medical science, social science in medicine, and medical humanities.

The Permanente Press

The Permanente Press publishes The Permanente Journal and books related to health care. For information about subscriptions, missing issues, billing, subscription renewal, and back issues, Email:


27,000 print readers per quarter, 15,350 eTOC readers, and in 2018, 2 million page views of TPJ articles in PubMed from a broad international readership.


The Kaiser Permanente National CME Program designates this journal-based CME activity for 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

ISSN 1552-5767 Copyright © 2019

All Rights Reserved.