February 10, 2021KR OnlinePoetry

Oxidation Story

The body bled for seven weeks before
succumbing to the surgeon, who torched
the nursery like a mob of angry villagers.
You bet they’re angry. Everybody’s angry.
Physiological indices of anger include
rose-tinted vision, muffled hearing, rapid
heart rate, and perceived distension of time.
Some epinephrine sharpens recall; too much
impairs it. Does a doctor like to burn patients?
The body can’t remember. The body likes anger,
the livid exhilaration, not so much
the landscape after. Once the body, aching,
made an appointment with a psychic.
He wore a T-shirt with a wolf on it.
When he lay down the cards, he said,
Good things come to you through fire.
The body hot-flashes, remembering months
it bled and weakened. How it stank of smoke.
Now the body is a ruin haunted by a girl
of twelve. Over and over she finds the first
red smear and phones her mother, who cries,
I’m sorry. The villagers never say I’m sorry.
The body searches through embers for something
good. It feels sorry for the girl, with so
much to dread until chemistry releases her.