James Byrne

Medicine

Sometimes I catch you staring into yourself
your face a curlicue of planet-ringed distances.

How do your eyes accomplish their suddenness?
Alert as poppies, and yet in the same acreage
dissected as a city pavement.

Often I have seen how your face is a stampede
prevented by something inside your skin.

Tonight we heard a faintness of geese outside
all whinging among the leathery bracken.
You nosed at the windowpane and whispered

Medicine . I wonder if the pride you wear so steeply
might one day collapse into a prim of confidences.

Memory seems to have such jagged fingernails.
I now know why it scratched us into flesh.

 

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