Back to Issue Nineteen.

embodied

BY MAGGIE GRABER

 

Body of maps. Body of bones
and blood. Body of bible verses,
lullaby, and lace. Body of nerve

and the taste of cinnamon.
Body of let’s begin again.
Body of handcuff and steel-toe.

Galactic glow and extension ladders.
Earthquakes. Fault-lines. Body
of amphibious breath. Incense

and church bells, candle wax, time
will tell, body of timpani drums
and pterodactyl wings. Subway trains,

piano keys. Records rotating
like Neptuned jazz. Body of Polaroids
and alley cats. A pixilated

heart. Coral reefs, desert cars, oceans
mopping the shores. Body of blackbirds
in winter sky. Body of a billion

eyes, spacebars, fingerprints
of tree rings, the Spanish word
for everything. Body of rivers

and pocket knives, TV screens,
silver, magenta. Body of rhymes
and placenta, the enter key

and mud-brick walls. Body
of brushstrokes and broken jaws.
Memories of ostriches, the smells

of dirt, oil, monsters. Rusty song
of industry. Clank of tanks,
artillery. Drone strikes and sonar

echo, waxy green of needled pine.
Body of pendulums, valentines,
interstates, the word Iroquois

in the mouth’s cave. Puddles
of orange juice in molars.
Dark rooms with skeletons

sitting in circles, Kleenex boxes,
rainbow necklaces of yarn. Body
of nails and barns and nirvanas. Once-

upon-a-times of trauma. Headlines
of evening news. Shark teeth
and muddy shoes. Birthdays etched

into stone, volcanoes, lanterns.
The hymn of numbers, repeating
patterns. Plastic. 747 descending

through cloud. Cross left to rot
in the rain. Body of midnight trains
and sorrows. Body of the wild tomorrow.

Body of a breath so borrowed.
Body of whistles and lime, stitches
and kisses, the stoplight sublime, this

body of tissue and pockets. This
body of turtle shell and flute.
Skin like peach glass and sun

rising off a roof, the end of May
and shifting dunes, beginning
of Yes and strict pull of a moon—

craters, projection of face, a rabbit,
I see you now—black sky, body
of polka dot and firefly. Once

I was a suitcase on a bus. Now
the calligraphy of a cornfield.
Opening like an envelope.

I am genetic code recalling
the first night years ago
when I burned like a book

and the stars organized themselves
like notes onto sheet music.
I am searching for ordinary

language. Translating rain. This
is a body of helicopter seeds.
No one can tell them not to dance.

 

 

 

Graber 19

Maggie Graber holds a BA in English and Religious Studies from Indiana University and an MFA from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. A Luminarts Cultural Foundation Fellow, she has poems appearing or forthcoming in The Louisville ReviewSouthern Indiana Review, DuendeGreat Lakes Review, and Hobart. She currently lives in the Midwest.

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