I used to run away when I was ten
to the river where water slapped
Now Iím a slowly moving island moving
farther from my eruption.
Split down the middle.
A green-tiled hospital corridor and a night
when a young womanís family paced
waiting to hearó
maybe she walked miles that day carving
the air with her hands. Trying to make
the bird in her thoughts
while vets with laryngectomies
smoked silently in the canteen,
little birds nailed to trees. In your coffin,
are you allowed to dress in grey?
I walk on a trembling cave bridge
underground. Eyeless fish swim beneath me.
Fish happy to never surface
completely. Removing a bandage
from an amputee, maggots crawl.
over his stump. Only I can feel them. He stands
on his other leg and loses his bladder on me.
Only now I feel the warmth trickling down
my own leg. His eyes wet. In this recurring dream
Iím inside my old house exploring
new rooms added since Iíve left.
Through large windows, people look into my bedroom.
Iím part of the old surgical theater, etherized
a tinny blood taste on my tongue
Yet I remain in this house when they lift
its sagging foundation, sighing and creaking.
people without my gloves on,
without a mask. I breathe them. At autopsy,
I hold the calcified heart of a young child. Inside
the heart is an eggshell. Inside
the eggshell a little bird.
Is that the same child
who asked me if
there are bones in heaven?
-Renee Rossi (LOCUSPOINT)