Friday, July 2, 2010

generic breakup poem #4356, Body Poem #3

do not mention blood
or if you do, assume I understand
the way the iron in hemoglobin
hoists oxygen in your lungs and moves
and shrugs it off in your cells.

Don't mention "hurt" without including
the way that platelets, feeling air or collagen
clump together and rattle through veins
into a pump that tears
with pulling against itself.

The rest of your words for "victim" you may have.
I am intimate with the idea
that the skin-house of a body can close its door
around an incorrect shape, or that time
might build a roof that keeps out possibility.

I likewise know
this is the coward's way, that I've closed off
all but a small area:
a garden rimmed with stones, where at the edges
grows the purple and yellow of nightshade, the hard shine
of the wrong kind of ivy, the woody stems
of sumac biting out space.

In the center, that little patch of sun,
I have hope of something small
and beautiful, the helicopters of a neighbor's japanese
maple, a well-behaved evergreen.
when you ask for that
you ask everything.

I won't give you everything.

It may be that all I'll ever have
is whatever plant has wrecked TVs for seeds,
whatever in a cathode ray tube looks
up from the grass and glints back at the moon
and asks for it to stay. As I said,
it's cowardly
but when you push on it it's tough
as a keloid, the fibrous braille
your hands read from my skin.

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