Excerpt from “Inferior Normal”

Use my veins as a straw to suck in the stars. Body as
illumination— black hole :: sound waves :: empty.
I sign my name on the line and let a surgeon take a knife
to my chest and carve pieces away. A metal tray sits
upon a cart with wheels and away wheels the cart
with globs of flesh pulled out from under my skin. In
a red biohazard bin out back, my flesh balled in plastic sits
melting in the sun: my body as landfill, as food for rats,
as slime on plastic bottles and broken washing machines.
Body as pieces left behind like offerings for my ancestors,
bribes for a prayer. Use my bones to build a box for my
burial. I’m leaving behind the dead parts. My shadow
has been reconfigured. Now—I look like a flag pole, or
a tree stripped of its branches, hollowed by lightening.

My body no longer

as if we could lay ourselves down at our own feet /
to mourn, as if we could shuck skin like a snake, slide away /
naked and new, some born-again eve.


This skin has listened as I have tried to formulate sentences and protests to how it has been handled, and then has accepted that I have done nothing to save it from being touched.

Swan Sludge

together how much waste / can we lay while habitually / co-habiting and co-curating