When I was twelve, my friend’s
mother told me she dissected cadavers
she was in college.      She would
smear petroleum jelly mixed with
peppermint oil on her upper lip,
an attempt to
mask the smell of the bodies—
As an adult, I smell mint and think
of the arrangement of organs within
                         an abdominal cavity.
If I write about the body a lot, it’s
only because all I am is human.
            How could I not write about flesh,
my anatomy like copper wire,
water instead
of                    blood?
My friend’s mother, the one who
told me about the petroleum oil,
always asked why I couldn’t, why I wouldn’t
            eat meat—
What I know for sure is this:
I only have a need for iron when
I recognize the shape of
my own bones.