the lifetime experience of the body

optimistic layers of cells keep hoping
from the basement membrane (as if
the goal were anything wonderful

to be on the outside reflecting part,
faint imitation of industry within:
the cations jostling with intent purpose

through channel pores, transforming
all information into electricity, leaving
only two ways to go: cleave or bond,

excite or rest, making the self-jolts
of the buried heart, stubborn with flaps
and thickenings, their meaning gone missing,

surfacing only a collection of pulses
that respond the same dumb way
to lust, fear, climbing the stairs,

invisibly spending heat into the air
like questions not asked, stories that started
one way and failed into crushing endings).

oh, the nave germinals, how they push on,
how they divide. how they wait
for the sloughing moment and imagine

they will renew (but skin is only a resume
of waste: scars, scabs, picked places,
slicked with curriculum vitae of secretions).

1997 Jessica Manke (bio)

 


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