The Unmaking of a Man
Monkeying around in the laboratory, man-
ipulating lead pipes into gold trophies,
it was a godsend that we reinvented resurrection.
That once discarded heart churned anew
inside the brand new you; when your eyes popped
open, so too did our eyes bulge.
We unfastened the gurney straps. You dis-
inclined to rise. We noosed your neck with
bandage rope, cajoled you like a drunk manatee.
You attempted to levitate off the table, lift—
but you were dead weight. Damp fists clenched.
You would pound us all to mango pulp
if you weren't immobile. Backfiring brain,
withering feet. We debated what to do with you
when buckets of sewage—formaldehyde & bile—
erupted from your orifice, dribbled from your
grimace. Who wouldn't overreact to such a thing?
Your eyes watered, pupils dilated:
you sought with fierce intensity as if you thought
to discern from brightness these strangers'
faces & unbeknownst places.
You frothed ill noises like straining cheese.
Someone would have to claim you.
The lights flickered, the only sign we needed.
What choice had we? How else to dismantle
these forces? Easily—not to our astonishment—
we paraded forth with our fanged torches.
You Are Now Entering a Coma
|she says the word||unconscious: uncon-shhh-ious|
|but what she means:||exoskeleton temple, calloused memory|
|unpainted; not||not painted as in, your unpainted cerebellum|
|she says these words:||the moment of your death|
|you wore a mask||of torture or frustration or ambiguity|
|when she lifted the mask:||you face was mirror|
|undone; not||not done as in, your undone cortex|
|your mind||shadow puppetry|
|parade of dragons &||ducks stretching across cerebrum|
|marbles for eyes|
|undead; not||not dead as in, you're undead|
|state of deep||unkonshhhissniss|
Because No One Else Would I Volunteered to Wrangle the Doppelganger
Another stretched against your skin,
a hallow mimic of yourself. Your own
mother mistook you for the child
she once gave birth to. I would not be
so easily consoled by that replica.
You may have looked like you but you
didn't smell like you. A metallic aftershave
emanated from you—a corrosion. You
no longer spoke in the same tongue as us.
You didn't react like you. Your hands
forged unprovoked bluewhite fists. I saw
right through you. I didn't know if you were
inside, a pod-person. But then I'd see flashes—
you trying to emerge from that eldritch sea
but you were anchored to its bottom.
When you'd come up for air you'd choke
on the air. Since no one else would I swore
to exorcise you of yourself. Gripped the cord
between damp palms. Yank the plug—like
pulling a dog's tail or ripping off a band aid;
quick jerk. Then throw myself upon you.
Smother it so it can't escape, slip under the door's
crack. That was the plan.
I thought I had it in me
to avenge you but some déjà vu flickered
in the corner of your watering eye.
The timing was ill-chosen. It wasn't my
decision to make. We were all afraid.
Keeping the Troglodyte Kempt
across your skin.
Your mouth twists
as you lavender.
wrist to your
lips. Tar pit
in the eel-
Once upon time
so long ago.