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Sport 40: 2012

1925 Henry Soutter does the unthinkable

1925 Henry Soutter does the unthinkable

There are no straight lines in the human body
even when the heart is wrung out to dry

there will be other routes—journeys
ia small balloon through

the artery of a leg or the underside
of a thigh, here people walking past

look into my window as if they might see
my surgeon’s hands at work, the whiff

of wrongdoing, a pig’s heart sewn inside
an empty chamber, an opening

in the atrium where once I carefully poked
my finger in order to palpate

the heart valve of a woman
laid bare before me on the gurney

no harm done though once she was
stitched my colleagues

scattered like geese
throughout the hospital wards

Outside I touched earth, called upon it as witness
I too, am learning to heal myself

Note: Soutter was not permitted to do this pioneer operation again.