my muscles unhook and wander the bed, loose and unholy with indolence.
The kneecaps unlace, the hips buckle, the spine a wilted elevated train
derailed, grown over green and ratty. Shoulders bow and shake hands,
breasts slide down from the cage bars of my torso. They creep like pilgrims,
sleep side by side, the tendons screaming after, hoarse, recalling symmetry and order.
Function an alternative to pain, a plane skimmed and skated over as if dreamt,
before and after which the lot returns to where it first began, from where it went.
A body remembers violence, welds the cells back together to form ghost figures where bones snapped or were jarred out of place and home. The cold imposition of blades and drag of needles. The catch of breath, the closed reservoir. Contractions and the tiny flesh washed red, red. I lost the first amid fireworks don’t imagine it there’s no need only now I try to release this, too: any venom. Let out poison in the form of love. Every scar, the body lights a candle.
-- Jen Schalliol Huang's work has been published or is upcoming in Cincinnati Review, Flock, RHINO, The Shore, Sou’wester, Shenandoah, and others. She reads for [PANK] and has been nominated for the Pushcart, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net. Jen lives in Massachusetts by a pond with her dog.