Sunday, July 4, 2010

LSPWVT #3, Body Poem #4

I need you to stop leaving body parts in my apartment.
I opened the odd-shaped cabinet
where I keep old T-shirts
and there was something thin and slick
in there. I think it was a spinal cord.

I've gotten used to the teeth
clicking around in the sink
when I run the disposal,
the flash and smell of hair
when I turn on the range.

I'm reasonably certain these things aren't yours
but something about them feels human,
as if the dowsing rod of my DNA could vibrate
with strange pulp and keratin.

How do you choose them? I have yet to see
anything straightforward, like a leg
severed at the thigh; instead,
you placed the tight, unreadable scroll
of an achilles tendon at my pillow.

I should be, but am not worried about the gore.
I always expect an optic nerve
with a little invitation
to plug in, see what a corpse sees
but you're more subtle than that. You know
my fixation on sounds,
and indulge it with good words:
orbital, tympanum, neuron.
When you left me a nervous system,
it was beautiful. I turned the lights off
and watched it flicker in the dark.

Still, I dread the point you're making
about my language of self and other, the literal way it
looks in,
stripping off skin to unlock the jaw for speech,
uncovering dull, wet muscles.
This can only end one way; you bringing me
a particular nothing, the sum of all these parts
for which I will have no name.

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