in Poems

Poem: ‘A Sketch of the Life and Writings of Robert Knox the Anatomist’

Burke’s the butcher Hare’s the thief

our Mary dead that danced last week
lies pale for all by hall assumed
her form becomes her those for whom
the abstract rose from bone to cheek
revere the room past chemic grief 
her limbs last sold for gin displayed
air stales as Knox one eyed begins
to seek the grace within her skin
awaits the cold slide of the blade

Knox the man that buys the beef

~~~

NOTES:

The Burke & Hare murders were almost discovered when one of Dr. Knox’s students recognised the corpse of a prostitute which Knox was using as a perfect example of muscular form & beauty, as the student had slept with her a week ago. He told Knox that the prostitute, called Mary, seemed perfectly healthy at the time. When Knox next saw Burke (or Hare, I forget) he asked this, to which Burke replied that Mary had drunk herself to death. It was decided that, since this was a normal thing for prostitutes to do, it was a likely explanation in this case & nothing more became of it.

Also, Dr. Knox only had one eye.