Arlene Naganawa

Bones splinter under lights.

In the moving car, shattered things jangle.

I stare through the window, hold my fingers

to my mouth. I had wanted to be a nurse,

someone with a needle to suture bloody grins

opened unexpectedly on arms, on abdomens.

I thought I could learn the miracle of transfusions.

Instead, I entered a forest where birds flickered

through silence. A fallen fir, crumbling, lay at my feet,

a nurse log, fungi rising like ghosts from her trunk.

Her bones were soft, melting, blanketed with ferns.

Someone told me, Lift the bodies from the leaves,

from deep water. You, there, receive the crushed sockets,

the latticed, shiny scars.


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