I came to
and found myself

clavicle newly fused to pelvis,

everything ’twixt throat and hips
contracted: the missing ‘v’ in o’er
and what I ne’er can have.

Stomach, lungs, and heart distilled
to this unvoiced apostrophe
hanging just before me—

                  You, absent
                  in every sense

                  pencil red by casual surgery,

                  are likewise swoon’s first cause and
                  ammonia’s jolt that brought me ’round
                  to face this grand redaction:

                  forgotten by deficient tongues,
                  all sounds of valediction gone
                  missing from my middle.

      Upon your sterile return, at least
      this awkward new anatomy
      won’t suffer me to stand

      too quickly


(first appeared in volume 2 of specs)