Poetry: Ars Poetica by Varun U. Shetty

A poem as incisive as the blade it mentions, Varun U. Shetty’s “Ars Poetica” moves from a singular first person speaker to a plural we. With that sudden inclusion, this poem requests we examine who and what is dissected in our desire to possess the truths we want to write.

Ars Poetica

I keep going back to the frog
on the wooden board,
splayed and pinned.

Our blade revealed his heart,
a truth,
drumming in its nest.

We tied knots around it
and took it—

the way humans take things
they think they own.

Outside his body,
his heart kept beating




Varun Shetty

Varun U. Shetty is a writer and critical care physician. He grew up in Mumbai and lives with his partners in Shaker Heights, Ohio. His work has appeared or forthcoming in Five South, Cleaver, Hobart, Healing Muse, Complete Sentence, and others. He won the 2022 F. Sean Hodge Prize for Poetry in Medicine. You can read more about him at www.varunushetty.com.

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