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Detachment

Bill Howell
From:   Porcupine Archery. Insomniac Press, 2009.


A thunderstorm power failure
the summer you're eighteen. Lightning
sizzling through acid rain, tracing
blameless faults in the afternoon sky.

Don't know the weather up there
for sure: you're caught in the staff tunnel
between the OR and the Path Institute
with a surprisingly heavy amputated leg

wrapped in a garbage bag on a gurney
when the lights go. A dark so complete,
intuition taunts memory. All you can see
is your watch face. If you smoked,

you might have a Zippo or matches
in your lab coat pocket. More put out
than worried, you're thinking
this could be a horror movie. But it's not.

Shyness: just egotism out of its depth.
Odiferous padded ducts sweat muggy stillness,
displacing your yet. Thing doesn't even have
an ID tag. Only right that the guy who grew it

retains the full name for most of himself. Man
is born into trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
Anyway, they'll understand when you're late
getting the gurney back. No matter what

you leave out. Language: fossil poetry after all.
With all its final bareness but no more feeling.
And, especially since it's strapped down tight,
this foot will never again get to run on wet grass.



Bill Howell's works copyright © to the author.


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