They picked me out of a hodgepodge toy box
and placed me in a white bed of angels, white-smocked
boys and girls stood over me with pencils and erasers
as if I was a tough one to crack, as if something
was multiplying exponentially inside of me.
The nurse put me in a swollen dress someone’s aunt died in
and said tomorrow I should be good as new, oh good as new,
I wondered whom else she said it to, did she say it to
the girl on the other side of the wall who searched
for her left breast with her right hand, who searched
for her left breast with her right hand all night.
By the time they put me in a tumbrel bound for the guillotine,
I already saw the anaesthetist’s red-rimmed eyes,
the surgeon’s red-bladed scythe. Their salted breath
fell on my neck, as Marie Antoinette’s high-wigged head
sagged over the red elms. It was then that I sensed
the place the scalpel was headed, the incision cold and precise.
If I wasn’t afraid, then nothing will ever make me afraid.
The moment I awoke, a distant voice spoke, the words came
undone one stitch at a time, my beautiful rhymes broken,
my lovely years gone, oh my beautiful rhymes broken,
my lovely years gone, gone, gone.
Whatever they took from me turned, turned its color
under the sun, and I was forbidden to go under the sun.
Still, I ran out of the sterile ward at five o’clock and found nothing more
alive than myself, wearing this gauzy dress someone’s aunt died in,
standing between the mossy stones and a lost bee.
I tiptoed around this sudden hole in my belly, catching earthly
elements released from my mother’s womb, and her mother’s,
and her mother’s, and her mother’s, houses of heirlooms. If only I knew
how to return to the warmth of her womb. If only I knew
how to have her bear me again at full moon, a perfect little doll,
seamlessly patched-up, and almost, almost, almost, good as new.
Originally published in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, issue 9.