A DISSECTED BODY SPEAKS

HALLIE NOWAK

 

A woman in Chile lovingly strokes the fossilized foot
of her dead brother, a handful of his teeth in her
weathered fist, a burgundy sock still cinched around his ankle.
 
I imagine that my spine is enlarged to architecture.
I pluck five gray hairs from my scalp every morning. A man tells me
what phase the moon is in. Tonight, I tell myself bodies
 
are supposed to be buried. My impacted wisdom tooth
in my sanguine gums reminds me of the pain of obscurity.
Tonight, the moon is the shape of a fingernail clipping.
 
The five gray hairs glint against the dull white light.
I am not afraid to feel pain; body hair & talking in my sleep & the weight
of foreign fingers pressing on places without asking.
 
Archeologists can determine the quality of a body from the stress
lines that develop on the enamel of teeth buried in the desert.
I wonder what my teeth have to tell about this life;
 
about this pain of going gray at 20; this pain of staring
at fingernail clippings in the bathroom trash can;
this era of trimming the wintering moon
into a new, colder phase.

 
 

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