Here There Are No Worms No Arthropods

by Sarah Sgro


the mother is a failed       metaphor for containment 

I defiled her container                     I count the season's     

losses on one leg                [initial]                    [redacted]     

my father             [initial]             Dad           loss: a flood 

with dreams of vacancy                               then vacancy

with dreams of floods               Are you still dead? I ask 

the wave resurging half-way there                     his skin 

is so precarious     in dreams     illness is preventable 

it's August 30th at 10PM                                  I'm flying 

home to seize his leg                          to find the unborn 

clot which will erupt             migrate            to the lung 

I can't eclipse this                    checkpoint in the dream 

can't even save him metaphorically         once I loved     

to study the grotesque               as evidence of spillage

abject doctrine               of dissociation from the flesh    

when the lukewarm body            stiffens in my hands

when the membrane bursts         inside the upper leg 

I don't require evidence                       to commemorate 

a death is bright          & useless as my mother's pride 

draping a tallit across his neck                          she defiles 

every working organ she has left     I don't blame her 

for self-mutilation        August 31st            it wasn't me

the body stiffened in her hands                       she called 

my Mississippi phone                I ate a Five Guys patty 

in the Hartfield-Jackson Airport                             flood 

of uncles in my home                      she heard the thump

resound downstairs & ran                        I'm a ruptured 

speaker & nonlinear         cartwheeling my fragments 

through the air                  bright & useless all my tricks 

why subvert the narrative                   drape a metaphor 

across my neck              when he's still dead              I love 

studying the future tense                will is a helping verb  

which renders time an excess                  or a pithy noun 

meaning I'll endure                              despite chronology      

the skyline is a stable point              standing on one leg