Gwen Strauss

Crossing the Heart

photo by David Heymann
At les Galeries d’Anatomie Comparée


Revelations. We marvel at rows of skeletons in glass
cases. We come to Paris to speak grievances, to witness
this rupture after eleven years of marriage. I stop
at the case labeled tératologie, the study of anomalies,
monsters, Siamese pig embryos in amber liquid, other
mistakes. Further down containers hold tongues: a tapir;
the Pyrenees bear, (extinct); lungs of an argentine fox,
part of an elephant’s stomach, livers of tigers and llamas.

But the glory are the brains, shocking chalk white in each
individual urn. I am suddenly happy to see this, the calligraphy
of hand-written labels, the urge of the 19th century to collect,
as if the amassing of species, of memory, could mean we
know each other. How innocent, thrilling it is. Hopeful
to see jars of hearts, dissected, labeled, peeled apart.


Selected Works

Juvenile Nonfiction Ages 7-10, Grades 2-5
The True Story of a young Holocaust survivor
Children's picture book
In the early 1950s, newly built interstate highways invited Americans to travel by automobile, but the open road wasn't so open for African-Americans, especially in the South.
Until he meets Marcia, Eric doesn't speak -- the Night Shimmy does all the talking.
Poetry
Strauss explores the theme of metamorphosis in fairy tales in this collection of poetry.
a series of poems in the form of a sonnet garland
Novel
Kay koule twompe soley men li pa twompe lapli. A leaky house can fool the sun, but it can't fool the rain. --Haitian Proverb
The adventure story of a young couple who sail to the Yucatan

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