How to Remove a Spike
I started doing this when my mother got sick, kidney problem. I vowed and prayed to God
so that she could be cured …
— Marvin Tao
Gratitude arrives with a hole in each hand, with metal
recycled from television sets and car fires.
This is the closest anyone has been
to my bones, shrapnel that makes its own music
as it passes through my body, a country
of volcanos and sugar and kidney failure.
The nails are not enough to sustain me. Devotion suspends
but does not give permission to float.
The Health Department insists on tetanus shots,
that each spike be sterilized before it penetrates, blessings
pulled from a jar of liquor that also purifies.
This is how I was meant to be born: my hair made
from clouds the color of grease and the smoke
I carry everywhere. When they raise me
up, all the incense rises to my lips. I have the best
view of the sky, of the distance prayers
must travel and the dust they leave behind, of the type
of bird that swallows them on their way up.about the author