Monday, January 29, 2018

Weekend Poem


Something severed gets unexpectedly sliced.
It gets chopped off, dismembered
Fingers and toes you never meant to surrender
Meanings of words cannot suffice.
It’s an assault, an act of violence:
Battlefield woundings, factory accidents,
A sectioning into arbitrary parts

Wrong words convey meanings we never intend
We say it’s not you, it’s me
We say I’m so sorry
We say, this is the last goodbye
We say, I know we'll meet again
We say, time heals all wounds
But what we really mean is in the sound of a door slamming
A scalpel clanking against a stainless steel pan

We try not to sever in surgery.
A severing is a mistake, an injury.
In surgery we amputate through defined tissue planes.
We disarticulate between joints.
We extirpate bulky tumors shouldered up against critical vessels.
It's anatomic: skin, fat, fascia, strands of muscle.
Dissect, excise, it's therapeutic.
Cool, dispassionate, unfrantic.
But a sudden severing leaves you cold and pulsatile and pale
----a shivering

In the end, it makes no difference
Whichever word you use (sever or amputate)
You’re left with an permanent absence.
It’s gone
It won’t regenerate.
You just have to move on

But maybe I’m not ready to lose a piece of my whole
Maybe I’m not ready to lose you,
Lose my heart or lose my soul.
I know you never meant to do me harm.
But to see a missing arm
Is to see a lost past, a boxed future,
And a present reduced to an orderly line of rough black suture.

Maybe I’ll hold on to this rotting bit of flesh
This slowly sloughing limb
I’ll soon enough no longer possess.
Maybe I'll hold on to it, no matter how grim;
Though it sickens me, marks me, rends me unalterably changed,
The lingering stench of the perpetually estranged



Oldfoolrn said...

Better than Carl Sandberg!

Anonymous said...

Interesting and dark. Edgar Alan Poe would be pleased with your masterpiece.