Thursday, May 26, 2011


The ten pounds needed to break
a knee, the sunken hollows

behind your jaw that, if pulled,
will detach it from the skull––

in self defense, we are educated of safety
through the body's fragility. I would have

killed him,
my mother says of the burglar gone
out the broken porch window. It would have

been easy,
she does not say.
Vertebrae, clavicle, scapula, the body

persists in words more fragile
sounding than they are. The man

whose motorcycle helmet bounced
some thirty times off the pavement

said he had begun to compose
a song to the rhythm of impact.

Malaria Parasite First Filmed Invading Human Blood Cell

The empty bottles and cans on the counter
seemed like the smallest war, even as we watched

another, smaller war on screen. Presented
with what writhes, the mind grows

an ugly tree, deeply rooted. This
was to witness a myth made, the self-

same desires of wolf for flock, snake for
the sweet, vile unhinging of what will fit

between its jaws, its coils. It begged
a question about fear's antipodal relation

to ignorance, how it is too easy
to call something of which we are terrified

beautiful––but by the time we had caught
on to the changed face of this foreign

body––what this change
meant––it was gone.

The clouds are moving in that thick,
imperceptible way again. With little

out here to measure them against,
it could be the jelly in our eyes––

the vitreous humor, which turns to water
as we age––that makes them,

motionless, churn; everything in us
moves. A contrail's incision parts east

from west. A surgical incision makes clean
work of malignancy, and the same radiation

that obliterated cities bladelessly shears
the scalp of its vivid weight.

I crushed a spider crossing the windowsill,
and saw, staining the tissue, what little

it takes to make motion––this, after
the bug spray and the spider's

unbearable demonstration of how much
it takes to keep moving.

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