A Patient’s Family Asks What Do I Know
In the ICU, my friend washed another friend’s
face with the serum and cream samples
they hoarded from Sephora. She sloped
and shaped his eyebrows like calligraphy.
The nurses envied his stainless skin,
saintly, like he hadn’t made a perfect O
on an imaginary dick to teach me
about efficient blowjobs. When I die
I know my friends will be dragged
up in sequins and blush, will cut cake
with their contour. But I know death
has always picked my more beautiful
loves over me. What a lucky bastard, to burn
a candle in wild fire. To make breath
into moan and song. How we learned
hunger and feast from our own fabulous
bodies. I don’t know much of anything.
I don’t think as much as do, as much
as want and miss and admire. I hope
you have love letters for my friends.
I wouldn’t blame you. Those handsome
boys. But I’d say find another messenger
because when I see my boys, my girls,
I will kiss them, and perform nothing
else, forever, for so long we will be reborn
as trees joined at the trunks, a set of summer
winds over sweaty sunbathing hunks, a handful
of hard candies melted into rainbow.
I figured it’d be months without laughter.
Understandably. On pelvic dissection day
my friend Amelia whispers I’m sorry,
girlfriend before starting the saw.
Another friend unknowingly holds
his cadaver’s hand during the biggest
incisions. Classmates I don’t even like
point out veins and nerves to spare me
hours of inhaling fat and fascia. Then
one group finds a penis pump and we decide
yes he meant it as a surprise and the boys
fist bump his cold hands. Another group
shares their cadaver’s perfect pink polish,
another has fresh, unwrinkled ink
across her chest. Like tiny treasures
for us. Of course no one donates their body
without a sense of humor. Of course the body
is a gift. We admit on dissection days
we all leave hungry, specifically for chicken.
I booked my calendar with hook-ups
as if to practice how the blood flows
while it can. One boy I brought home
had a scar down his sternum, a souvenir
of a heart condition. He apologized
years after the incision healed, like the scar
didn’t pucker like lips. I imagined the lights
baring on him, how so many lucky
hands got to press against his skin.