The first time they bring my sister back,
her blood has clotted into a slug.
It creeps through her veins, observes
with its baleful eye the canyons of her, her dark
cornered scissor ribs, how they pierce through
her stomach like a baby’s foot,
how the clot finds its way to intestines
where it breaks apart, waterfalls the GI tract
until the doctors have to take that, large and small
intestines replaced with the winding road
we would walk to our father’s, up and down
the hill, around the bend.
And again, they take her face, which is the stamen
of a daisy, anther and filament neck, her hair
falling out in clumps, petals. They take her fingers
which shiver notes on the clean white sheets, her toes,
blackened and swollen, her teeth.
The next time they bring her back,
half her heart has turned stone, as if she
has seen her own image in a mirror,
as if she’s caved off parts. The doctors go in
with a chisel plow, break up the hardpan soil
between organ and bedrock, remove and replace it
with a bovine valve: cow heart, sister,
and because the cattle are so like us, grieve
when separated, isolated, notice threats and stigma,
branded with stigmata or a name across the side,
she is the same girl, and she returns to the needle again.
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