Hollowed out,
I am scraped clean with a steel spoon, seeds and pulpy excess in jars
and these
little monsters, sitting neatly in a row.
Here: tentacles and spongy parts,
crocodile eyes and a soft belly.
There: a gelatinous membrane covers writhing organs
and a quiet, beating heart.

I learn anew each time:
that knot inside my chest,
it pulls gnaws tightens
and my breath ? a gasp
caught behind my tongue as my jaw clamps shut.
A rush of heat behind my ears
and for a tingling moment, that blaze ?
that firecracker pattern in the dark ?
illuminating every bulge and excrescence,
each half-formed lump
of swelling, pulsing, mutating matter in the body
of an involuntary host.

There are days
I care more for soap suds
or the delicate clicks hums murmurs purrs of this settling house
or the iron-grey scrape of the vacuum cleaner shredding the domestic lull
than the thought of wrenching out
the pieces of some new contorted brute.
Ganglions rise on my wrists
and my fingers ache from stitching.
Sense brings its own comforts:
a pencil skirt in the morning,
a glass of wine in the afternoon,
an affair in the evening.
The constant rearranging
of the disorderly mundane
is a kind of art
not unlike mine, and yet
I cannot feel that churn, that push,
that impending hot-blood catastrophe
away from these wretched creatures.
The silver snake of time still stretches out
in the space between what I see
and how I see it, and through that fissure
the punctuation of my life is rendered
in the gullies and rocks of the slow ascent
to here,

and I am tired.


My knuckles crack.
Skin splits and blisters.
It would be quicker
to cleave these pieces from the bone with a rough blade
because the time it takes to disconnect every vessel
each microscopic vein
with careful, meticulous fingers and baste them anew ? but no.
I bury my elbows in terse dawn
and begin again
to suture this malignant growth to some new beast.