The body is still the body
even when you look down
and do not recognize it anymore,
even when it betrays the other
through his own desire for the body.
You have the devil in you.
Your body is legion.
Everything moves and nothing moves.
Stocky dark figure in a doorway,
whole bottle of Jack clutched in his fist.
Somewhere in the house a woman calls for him,
voice slurred. You can chide him like a dog,
you can bundle her up in pajamas, you can sit
sentry outside her door for an hour.
Sometimes he is the dog.
Sometimes you are.
There is no changing of the guard, but
no matter how many times you hit the reset
button you leave her anyway. There is
no purpose for your feet that night if not
to carry you just far enough down the hall
to believe this building silent.
Pry your mouth open with both hands.
Break your jaw. Rip your own skin.
Reach down into your throat and pull out
your own heart, pull out your own lungs.
Lay them on the table.
Evacuate the contents of your stomach,
lay that out on the table. Your jaw dangles
and there is something to learn here.
We, each, are known by our meat,
by the sound it makes torn
from our bodies’ greater whole.
Cut the bruises from your skin one by one by one,
cast them into a circle like stones and they will form
constellations, point you north in a bloody sky.
The body does not know what the arms row it towards,
where the shores of flesh. There will be blood in your hair
as long as there are stars in the sky.
This is a story about body as constellation,
making a map of stars, learning to navigate.
This is a story about a hand on a throat
that does not want a hand on it.
This is a story about a screaming rabbit,
a screaming fox, a screaming bird.
This is a story about fingers glued together, about teeth
welded tight, about legs stumbling, stumbling.
This is a story about self-cannibalization,
the appetite always unfinished.
Whisper behind your palm, get it wrong
like a game of telephone.
Anything in your hand can be a weapon.
Margaret Bashaar‘s first book, Stationed Near the Gateway, was released by Sundress Publications this year. She is also the author of four chapbooks and the founding editor of Hyacinth Girl Press. She co-runs FREE POEMS, a celebration in arts anarchy, with Rachael Deacon, and lives in Pittsburgh, PA.