Breaking Out

Doctor said it would go away

like steam, these feelings through vitamins

and IV drips. The constellation

of words, falling around me

like gutter leaves: dried and black

my walnut womb.


In my uterus they carve his name

in stitches: a Braille I once could read

with every fingertip

back when we were nothing

but parenthesis, brackets which fell apart

when we were hung up on each other,

back when every movement

was an earthquake along the fault-lines

of my veins.


Now when I look through this cold glass

I see nothing but a screaming hieroglyph,

a language I no longer understand.


His amber skin: a paint stroke of jaundice.

A naked flame, the burning slit

of light: the halogen bulb

that rests above him.


Will he remember our bongo drum hearts?

Or will he just recall those beating, dead-

channel monitors? His progress measured

in impregnable algebra.


To my side, my zip-up travel bag

filled with Cosmo magazines

and instruction manuals. Later I will shred

my dead skin like a cicada bug

in the bathroom shower

just as he shredded me.


And then they will scrub the dirt

from his eyes

so he can see

a thousand mummies in white gowns

while I am at home

bleeding for him once more.


Benjamin Jones