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Jae Jae

The Maintenance Of Bodies

there is so much involved in the maintenance of bodies...
the greasy hospital sheets,
doctors on switch-shifts
mortgaging their own happy hours,
cold and endless bathroom steel
and the carving-out feeling
of surgical howls,
the basement below filled with
blackened limbs.

then there is
the ripping, tearing, bloodiness
of newborn pain—
a welcome shot of reality when
that needle bangs and clatters to the floor...
I could revel all night in the irony of
incompetence.

so much done to save as much surface area
of skin

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Backyard

We had this
animal graveyard
set just far back enough
in our Clearing
so we didn’t have to be afraid
of all those furry ghosts, wandering ‘round in the cool, sharp Louisiana night and
seeking us out—their tiny patches of unkempt, crooked hairs
suffused with moonlight
cast up from the Palm Lake.

We buried our minds there, our memories,
unable to let slide the pulsing insecurity of feeling, fear; no
emotions at all
could be allowed to roam
with those shunned ghosts in The Woods. They must be buried—
the uplifting with the shattering,
like the weeds with the flowers and fruits,
from the rising daylight
till Momma said
the streetlights are on, come on inside for dinner.

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The Fall of Man

The Fall of Man.

We study the Holocaust at school.
“The Catastrophe, ”
the Jews have deemed it
in their language.
I write, “Shoah” on the board.
We watch a video.
They gasp at the pictures, the horror.
Nancy Bowman
ever the patriot, affirms:
“I’m glad I live when and where I do. We would never let something like that
happen nowadays.”

I flip on CNN when I get home:

The knobs of knees and forearms
cut angles from the thick, dusty air;
the inner thighs—
the part we American women

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