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Flower Conroy

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

unbeautiful you
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
was clear
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
waddling under brain-bridges
marbles for eyes
undead; not not dead   as in, you're undead
state of deep unkonshhhissniss
that lasts

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

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I swab
the bog
your atrophied
hunter's thighs.

Sop prehistoric
copper rich
piss when
droplets wildflower

across your skin.
Your mouth twists
as you lavender.
I drape

my daughterly
wrist to your

You are
no longer

Slush cakes
your cracked
lips. Tar pit
fossilized brain:

what be-
headed thoughts

behind those
unshutting eyes,

whose reflection
in the eel-
emerald waters?

Once upon time
you were—O
so long ago.

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