Bloodwork, and The Arousing

by Suzanne Edison


The live-wire of my body,
vigilant tuning fork, vibrates low.
Watching you walk, run, heave
a mottled brown ball toward netted hoop—impossible
to dream—a braided vision
of normality—I am no longer a chicken
pecking circles round your every moment,
as if that dance kept me from being
unzipped, or you, from falling.

Yet, each time your labs return
a notch too high or, a milky fog appears
inside one eye and your knuckles flare, grated
red, I curse the resurrected
hope-wagon I thought to ride on.
Still full of flint, ready for conflagration,
I would strip bark with my teeth, slice
the neck of pestilence—a fenestration
for cords coiled from my hair and flayed skin—
plait a lasso, harness, bower, anything
to keep the sky clear
of your unfurling.

The Arousing: Thunder, Keeping Still: Mountain,
Preponderance of the Small

I had forgotten the rope around my ankles
the unseen anchor, noose, we wove

until you called, mother, to confirm
aggressive progressive no cure.

When you asked for my help to die
my ankles burned. I reached for a knife.

I saw white tablets engraved with faulty instructions,

pills rolled in brittled fingers, their beauty halting,
residue: four children the garden gone

to thickets—a lamp blinking red-green-indigo blue.

Weeks straddling fallen
strands of hair, knots of chit chat

mixed with silence—if not me
who would dish out crush up hand over—

who hold the pillow over your face

your eyes, those bindweed seeds of love

originally published in The Healing Art of Writing; UCSF Press, Vol. I; 2011