Fascinating, the Parts of Us

Melissa Studdard

that attain immortality before we do,

as if we’d sculpted ourselves into skyline

against the first gasp of night. I want to steal

the hair of everyone I’ve ever loved, shave it

right onto the pillow from their unsuspecting sleep

and carry it to the top floor of my obsession.

I have trouble letting go, it’s true. In an elevator, I’m

the last to push my floor, and I drink five bottles of water

at a time, scattered all over the house, afraid that if I finish

them, I’ll die. Same with books. Lately I’ve been

reading about President Antonio López de Santa Anna,

who ordered a full military burial for his

amputated leg. He dug it up

to transport from one home to another,

paraded it in an ornate, royal coach.

I dream of sparrows lifting the ten pounds

I lost last spring to the sun, pinking the edges of the city

with what I used to be. Body that I can barely keep up with,

you owe me nothing, not even your parts. Yet, I’m so hungry

for the vanishing lamps of your intelligence

I could eat my own tail,

I could pull my own lightning from the sky.


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