5.06 / June 2010

As Lovers Do

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We traded aortas

under the Ballerina Magnolia that had already bloomed

and wilted

and dropped its petals to our feet. You called

for 5-0 surgical silk

to stitch

the artery in its place: Don’t forget the gauze.

Don’t leave the gauze in my chest.

No, my dear, that’s sponges—

sponges sopped in coagulated blood, but I’ve seen

your cavity. I’ve wretched

the cloth from behind your velvet veins,

folded your torso together

and set to sewing.

I practiced all week—

on pillows, on curtains, hemming

dress pants into shorts I’ll never wear.

Your chest, your ribs,

the cerise line kissed from your thorax

to your belly button stayed supple

and I abandoned the pocketknife

to the tree while we trailed

pink petals from our feet.

My blood in your superior vena cava,

your aorta crocheted to my left ventricle.

Keep an Eye Out

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His were stapled.
Otherwise, they would have stared
from the casket with corneas missing.
He donated them. Poppy
was proud. Always giving, right to the end.

If the lids are windowsills, bust the glass
and draw the eyelashes. I can’t bear
to look at a stranger and recognize fog
driving through retina in a green Camaro.
It’d be brothers, brothers everywhere. Brothers
on the bus, brothers in the mall,
brothers in the park glancing

up from Easter Lily. I scramble
through groves of oak, stumble
over roots that wind into each other.
This was what he wanted? That I should droop
my head to the earth? That I should open
my sockets to rubber cement and
gasp at the burning?

Plaster my eyes shut with white paste
that bleaches the cobalt to scarlet. Peel
adhesive flakes from my lids and pray
they transplant his into mine, so that I might wake
every morning, drag my body
to the bathroom, and see,
in the mirror, our two souls.

Diaphanous Tin Man

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Love, when I screwed
your hand into your steel
arm, I thought you might forgive me.
The way I always stole
fingers, borrowed
your knee caps. Mine were too
soft, too malleable.

I didn’t mean to strip
the thread; to gnaw
the metal down.
Let me give your hand back, palm up.

Can’t you see I’ve brought
extra bolts?
We have lug nuts, washers,
pins and rods. Let me weld
them to your shins.
Let me haul your body
from the tub
and clank you to the floor.
Don’t rust, love,
in the crystalline water.
Don’t rust on me.