“Transplant” by Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco


I guess the nice way
to think about it is to say

the pig was tissue paper,
packed around the

heart. It’s best to make
it all seem

clean. In the picture, the men pulled

the whole red heart out through a hole
in a green drape: underneath—

what we don’t talk about, the soft hurt tender
pink—and held above—

the heart alone, like glitter stars. Nothing

distasteful. It could be a Valentine, if you
like that. You stole

my heart.

Of course a pig’s not tissue

Of course we have to
make decisions.

from Poets Respond
January 16, 2022


Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco: “I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been really fascinated by the pig heart transplant story this week. It manages to be at once inspiring, terrifying, unsettling, and hopeful all at once, and new information keeps being reported. I think what I wanted to explore here was how complicated the whole issue is—there are so many layers, and I feel like many of these layers clash with our general desire to simplify everything into the most palatable version of itself. I’ve seen several photos included in news reports, but the one that stuck with me was the one with the heart over the drape—outside of either the pig or the recipient—waiting for its next life.”

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