stoic when it came to scabs & blisters
scraping them, pulling them back
applying ointments, balms
& coverings designed to foster healing.
She took temperatures
administered Aleve, chicken soup, tea.
Read of dermatitis
shrinking and expanding of bronchi
ins and outs of sinus cavities.
She knew everything there was to know
regarding hormonal imbalances.
She knew things even psychically.
Vagaries of behavior.
But poke her or prod her
open her eyelid or vagina
and you had a fearless discoverer
on the floor. Out cold.
She couldn't bear the insides.
The prying or revealing.
Only her throat was open for exam
she could see swollen tonsils,
Ahh, yes, she'd say
there's white spots
it must be strep.
stepping out of a Florida hospice.
Yielding her twin sister to nature.
Birds still landed, took off, into trees or ocean.
Hot wind wound its way around her neck & lung.
Half her flesh had disappeared from her
and what it felt like was being deflated.
What it felt like was doubling over.
trying to get back
to the curve of the street as it swooped
by Shiawassee Park and her Catholic grade school.
Trying to shove into her mouth
the roads and routes that were grooved
in her hands as she took the steering wheel.
Song practice in an unheated church.
Reconciliation. Slips of sins burning on the altar
meant she didn't have to tell the priest directly
what she did that week. Little chimera.
Pew-back. She stood there looking and
putting salt-rubbed roads in her nose and
dry summer nights on her skin.
getting sad every time she came.
Deep movements inside of her
and still she had to break away.
She was giving birth
and afterwards she noticed the moves were familiar
but the limbs were not.