Here is a box of fish marked tragedy.
Is it different from the dream
in which your alter ego kills the girl?
You are the same, and everyone knows it,
whether tracing the delicate lip of the oyster shell,
or sharpening your blade in the train car.
The marvelous glint is the same.
Though you think you sleep, you wake
and walk into the hospital, fingering
each instrument, opening each case with care.
The scales fall away with a scraping motion.
You are the surgeon and you are the girl.
Whether you lie like feathers on the pavement,
or coolly pocket your equipment, and walk away. . .
You are the same; and you are the same.
You only sleep to enter the luminous cave.
A PIT, A BROKEN JAW, A FEVER
When I say pit, I'm thinking of a peach's. As in James and the Giant, as in: the
night has many things for a girl to imagine. The way the flesh of the peach
can never be extricated, but clings — the fingers follow the juice. The tongue
proceeds along the groove. Dark peach: become a night cavern — an ocean's
inside us — a balloon for traveling over. When I said galleons of strong arms
without heads, I meant natives, ancient. I meant it takes me a long time to get
past the hands of men; I can barely get to their elbows. How a twin bed can
become an anchor. How a balloon floating up the stairwell can become a
person. Across the sea of the hallway then, I floated. I hung to the
fluorescent fixtures in the bathroom, I saw a decapitated head on the toilet.
I'll do anything to keep from going in there. I only find the magazines
under the mattress, the Vaseline in the headboard cabinet. A thought so hot
you can't touch it. A pit. A broken jaw. A fever.
There was a concert somewhere, I was
there with a college friend who wound
up betraying me, & I murdered the son
of a bitch with a shot-gun; they told
me I could get off scot-free if it was
only one murder, & as I sat in the
balcony trying not to notice a show
of cadavers onstage I angled my
behaviors so as not to offend them.
Next shot: I saw the dead man's life
pass in sequence before me, & he
was bound by a five-year contract to
die shortly anyway, which is probably
why they let me off, even as the cadavers
played invisible instruments into open air-