Narcan Metamorphosis

Sara Moore Wagner

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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