Stone, John

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Jun-25-2004


As a medical student Stone moves ("in our own tense tendons") into a new understanding of the body, in which knowledge of names ("the word") gives power over the mysteries that lie under the skin. "Ribs spring like gates." Within the gates they [students] find the secret cause of death: an aortic aneurysm. But the aneurysm isn't just a fact; it tells a human story, a story of an "old sin-- / the silent lust / that had buried itself . . . ." Thus, the cadaver speaks.

Primary Source

The Smell of Matches


Rutgers Univ. Press

Place Published

New Brunswick, N.J.