Precious Bodily Fluids

Goedicke, Patricia

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Willms, Janice
  • Date of entry: Jul-07-1999


In this poignant poetic rendition of images presented to the narrator as she watches one of her body fluids ooze into an external receptacle, the reader is treated to a vivid array of symbols brought to the poet's imagination. The fluid is lymph, collected into a "little plastic pouch / hung on my side like a monkey." The poem is made up of run-on three line stanzas, flowing like the fluid--from color images, to visions of the sea, to associations with the aroma of fruit.

As the poem progresses, the narrator shifts from the reality of what it means to wear the collection device and empty and measure its contents, to the metaphors of fluid: the narrator is submerged, "I speak from inside / an aquarium," contemplates the metaphysics of the fluid milieu of the human body, "Who knows what's going on / beneath the skin. . ." And yet, the poet-narrator concludes, for their apparent significance, once the body fluids are spilled, the "gates opened," they become irrelevant as they dry into "sticky specks."


As a reflective and intuitive perspective on the importance of the human body, this poem excels. In the piece, the poet moves from the practical, everyday, meaning of wearing a foreign apparatus to collect the escaping essence of one's corporeal makeup, to sensory images of these fluids, to a final conclusion that, once external to the body, the life-sustaining liquids loose all their import. Their life in air matters not. Is the poet suggesting that the dissolution of the body obliterates the importance of the being it previously represented?

Primary Source

Invisible Horses


Milkweed Editions

Place Published

Minneapolis, Minn.