Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

for Jan

In the container of arugula,

past its sell-by date,

I pick through

the serrated leaves,

toss out the yellow pieces,

the slimy green bits

In the container of your abdomen

people in green scrubs

pick through your sad intestines

(long past the sell-by date)

all stuck together,

threatening rot.

Chop out the bad bits,

sew the good bits back together.

It’s easy with the arugula,

just toss it in

with some romaine (chopped)

a few cherry tomatoes

maybe some sunflower seeds

or leftover green peas.

The salad is ready

no time at all.

For you, though,

your skin tubes and tunnels must be reimagined,


cleared of obstruction

for your digestion to proceed

according to precedent

for time to heal

for salad

to pass safely through.

The Karakesh Chronicles

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and – for caregivers


Photo by Anna Tarazevich on

Today I glue strips of colored fabric

on a round cheese box

to hold my bobbins

I think of your small intestine

glued together by scar tissue

As I spread Elmer’s glue

with a brush

your friend rushes you

to the emergency room

Strips of speckled blue cloth

along the edge of thin wood

strips of scar tissue

form adhesions

a blockage in a pink tube

Green ribbon shot with gold

orange flowers on pink

in a fan pattern

You in your blue cotton gown

tubes in your nostrils

turn the glue bottle upside down

waiting for the drip

while far away

the IV drips glucose into your veins

No solid food for you.

I squeeze the plastic bottle,

air wheezes back in

The tubes in your abdomen

suck the material away

I slide my brush over woven material

squares and rectangles of blue

and green hospital walls

I have a little cheese box covered with bright cloth.

I cannot cover the distance between us.

Written February 28, for my sister having surgery

The Karakesh Chronicles

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