On the Elements of Anatomy

originally appeared in No, Dear


In medical theory, bones

fissure into paperclips.  But I know

human abdomens breathe like frogs

under the paper hands of hospitals.  Everything ruptures

                        in a country I cannot name.

                        Horses dissolve into dandelions.


Believe in me, Bellevue, and render your dead

as birds.  I exchange prayers for talons in my cavalcades

of lungs.  Diagnostics

torn off sparrow-flutter.

                        Anything going into the sea

comes out unrecognizable.


Deliver me, light or stone-laden,

to the ghost of your God.

In both hemispheres of the body, pigment

runs toward a surface of dirt, grapes become rice.

                        One out of ten children

                        calls the wrong man father.


If gauze covered the ocean floor, what skeletons would grow.