Their Bodies

Wagoner, David

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Terry, James
  • Date of entry: May-17-1994
  • Last revised: Jan-10-2007


Wagoner dedicates his poem "to the students of anatomy at Indiana University" and later confirms this clue that he is writing about the donated bodies of his parents. He briefly connects the post-mortem physical characteristics of the couple to the lives they led. Then he pleads for respect: "You should treat them / One last time as they would have treated you." Wagoner hopes students will learn from the bodies "as he did" and begs them to learn "politely and truly." Then the kicker as third person: "They gave away the gift of those useful bodies / Against his wish" and closes: "be gentle to everybody."

Primary Source

First Light: Poems


Little, Brown

Place Published