Pam Uschuk

Issue #
September 6, 2013


Neuropathy’s ice blocks each step, chemo’s
aftershocks from sole to fingertips to my bald head,
where I try to reconfigure a path, the
exact trajectory back to human.

In Russia, my people, believing in beauty again,
rush to windows awed by a meteor’s rare arc
burning the pure acetylene spine over snow
before the panes shattered, blasting glass
into their stunned familiar faces.
This is the rapture that wounds.

Take love and its singed finch wings
recovering after the surgeon’s laser
sliced through my abdomen, maneuvering the DaVinci robot
to remove the organs of my making.
Why does hysterectomy begin
with its mouth open to scream?

The utter yellow gleam of the meteor broke
subarctic night, rocked boulders
for miles as schoolchildren pressed
noses flat to see this burning angel
hiss past their history class before they screeched,
small owls terrified of brilliance shot
from outer space or the hand of God
that once sanctified tyrant tsars.

I listen for morning birds. A goldfinch can break
my heart with its song alone, the wheeze
so plaintive, it charms the rain
from clouds that numb desert sunrise.

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